(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The story of an African farm : a novel"

THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 




ENDOWED BY THE 

DIALECTIC AND PHILANTHROPIC 

SOCIETIES 




m 2 9 1975 



UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 

10001937674 



THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 




ENDOWED BY THE 

DIALECTIC AND PHILANTHROPIC 

SOCIETIES 



PR5299 
.SU 

ST 
1883 






\0' 



This book is due at the LOUIS R. WILSON LIBRARY on the 
last date stamped under "Date Due." If not on hold it may be 
renewed by bringing it to the library. 


DUE E RET ' 


DATE RFT 
DUE 


Jiji_ 


#i 






«■»■ Jul 


Xm 


j 




r ,:- .-, 


i 1997 






CAftflELCfe. 


tOw 














«*■ 


i , 






JAN ! 3 2 


005 






ZZT NO 


tP 5 2002 








4 






MAYi 


O2012 








f 5 ffltt 






















































form/Vo. 5?3 









THE STORY OF 

N AFRICAN FARM 

A NOVEL 



RALPH IRON 

(OLIVE SCHRBINKR) 



CHICAGO 
M. A. DONOHUE & CO, 

*07-429 Dearborn Street 



■ 



HARKAWAY 
SERIES OF BOOKS 

By Bracebridge Hemin<? 



Price, 75 Cents per Volume. 

NO. TITLE. 

1 Jack Harkaway's School Days. 

2 Jack Harkaway After School Days 

3 Jack Harkaway Afloat and Ashore 

4 Jack Harkaway at Oxford, Part 1. 

5 Jack Harkaway at Oxford, Part 2. 

6 Jack Harkaway Among the Brigands, Part 1. 

7 Jack Harkaway Among the Brigands, Part 2. 

8 Jack Harkaway's Adventures Around the 

World. 

9 Jack Harkaway in America and Cuba. 
10 Jack Harkaway's Adventures in Chin-^. 
i\ Jack Harkaway's Adventures in Greece, 

Part 1 . 

12 Jack Harkaway's Adventures in Greece t 

Part 2. 

13 Jack Harkaway's Adventures in Australia. 

14 Jack Harkaway and His Boy Tinker, Part t, 

15 Jack Harkaway and His Boy Tinker, Part % 

For sale by all booksellers 

•rM. A. DQNOhUE & CO., 407-439 Oea^oraflfe^ 

CHICAGO. 



TO MY FRIEND 

MRS. JOHN BROWN 

OF BURNLEY, 

THIS LITTLE FIRSTLING OF MY PE$ 
IS LOVINGLY INSCRIBED 



RALPH IRON. 



South Kensington, London, 
June, 1S83. 



"We must see the first images which the external world 
casts upon the dark mirror of his mind ; or must hear the 
first words which awaken the sleeping powers of thought, 
and stand by his earliest efforts, if we would understand 
the prejudices, the habits, and the passions that will rule 
his life. The entire man is, so to speak, to be found in the 
cradle of the child." 

Alexis de Tocqueville. 



CONTENTS. 



PART !. 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. Shadows from Child-life , 9 

II. Plans and Bushman Paintings 22 

III. I was a stranger, and ye took me in 32 

IV. Blessed is he that Believeth 4 2 

V. Sunday services 55 

VI. Bonaparte Blenkins makes his Nest 68 

VII. Hesetshis Trap 76 

VIIL He catches the Old Bird 83 

IX. He sees a Ghost 9 8 

X. He shows his Teeth no 

XL He Snaps 114 

XII. He Bites... 125 

XIII. He makes Love 142 

PART II. 

I. Times and Seasons 151 

II. Waldo's Stranger 178 

III. Gregory Rose finds his Affinity 206 

IV. Lyndall 220 

V. Tant' Sannie holds an Upsitting and Gregory 

writes a Letter 246 

VI. A Boer Wedding . 257 

VII. Waldo goes out to taste Life, and Em stays at 

Home and tastes it 275 

VIII. The "Kopje"..... 281 

IX. Lyndall's Stranger 294 

X. Gregory Rose has an Idea 307 

XL An Unfinished Letter 313 

XII. Gregory's Womanhood 336 

XIII. Dreams 3 68 

XIV. Waldo goes out to sit in the Sunshine 378 



GLOSSARY. 



Several Dutch and Colonial words occurring in this 
work, the subjoined Glossary is given, explaining the 
principal. 



Benaauwdheit 

Brakje 

Bultong 

Ins pan 

Kappje 

Karroo 

Karroo-bushes 

Kartel 

Kopje 
Kraal 



Mealies 

Meerkat 

Meiboss 

Nachtmaal 

Out-span 

Predikant 
Reim 

Sc hi edit 
Shot 
Spock 
Stamp-block 



Upsitting 
Velschoen 



Indigestion. 

A little cur of low degree. 

Dried meat. 

To harness. 

A sun-bonnet. 

The wide sandy plains in some parts of 
South Africa. 

The bushes that take the place of grass 
on these plains. 

The wooden bed fastened in an ox- 
wagon. 

A small hillock, or " little head." 

The space surrounded by a stone wall or 
hedged with thorn branches, into 
which sheep or cattle are driven at 
night. ♦ ■■ 

Indian corn. 

A small weasel-like animal. 

Preserved and dried apricots. 

The Lord's Supper. 

To unharness, or a place in the field 
where one unharnesses. 

Parson. 

Leather rope. 

Bad. 

A dry watercourse. 

A ghost. 

A wooden block, hollowed out, in which 
mealies are placed to be pounded be- 
fore being cooked. 

In Boer courtship the man and girl are 
supposed to sit up together the whole 
night. 

Shoes of undressed leather. 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 



I have to thank cordially the public and my 
critics for the reception they have given this little 
book. 

Dealing with a subject that is far removed 
from the round of English daily life, it of neces- 
sity lacks the charm that hangs about the ideal 
representation of familiar things, and its recep- 
tion has therefore been the more kindly. 

A word of explanation is necessary. Two 
strangers appear on the scene, and some have 
fancied that in the second they have again the 
first, who returns in a new guise. Why this 
should be we cannot tell ; unless there is a feel- 
ing that a man should not appear upon the scene, 
and then disappear, leaving behind him no more 
substantial trace than a mere book ; that he 
should return later on as husband or lover, to fill 
some more important part than that of the mere 
stimulator of thought. 

Human life may be painted according to two 
methods. There is the stage method. Accord- 
ing to that each character is duly marshaled at 
first, and ticketed ; we know with an immutable 
certainty that at the right crises each one will 
reappear and act his part, and, when the curtain 
falls, all will stand before it bowing. There is a 
sense of satisfaction in this, and of completeness. 
But there is another method— the method of the 
life we all lead. Here nothing can be prophesied. 



8 PREFACE. 

There is a strange coming and going of feet. 
Men appear, act and re-act upon each other, and 
pass away. When the crisis comes the man who 
would fit it does not return. When the curtain 
falls no one is ready. When the footlights are 
brightest they are blown out ; and what the name 
of the play is no one knows. If there sits a 
spectator who knows, he sits so high that the 
players in the gaslight cannot hear his breathing. 
Life may be painted according to either method ; 
but the methods are different. The canons of 
criticism that bear upon the one cut cruelly upon 
the other. 

It has been suggested by a kind critic that he 
would better have liked the little book if it had 
been a history of wild adventure ; of cattle driven 
into inaccessible "kranzes" by Bushmen; "of 
encounters with ravening lions, and hair-breadth 
escapes^" This could not be. Such works are 
best written in Piccadilly or in the Strand : there 
the gifts of the creative imagination, untram- 
meled by contact with any fact, may spread their 
wings. 

But, should one sit down to paint the scenes 
among which he has grown, he will find that the 
facts creep in upon him. Those brilliant phases 
and shapes which the imagination sees in far-off 
lands are not for him to portray. Sadly he must 
squeeze the color frorr/his brush, and dip it into 
the gray pigments around him. He must paint 
what lies before him, 

R. IRON. 

fune, 1883. 



THE STORY OF AN AFRICAN FARM. 



Part I. 

CHAPTER 

shadows from child-life. 
The Watch. 

The full African moon poured down its light 
from the blue sky into the wide, lonely plain. 
The dry, sandy earth, with its coating of stunted 
" karroo " bushes a few inches high, the low hills 
that skirted the plain, the milk-bushes with their 
long finger-like leaves, all were touched by a 
weird and almost oppressive beauty as they lay 
in the white light. 

In one spot only was the solemn monotony of 
the plain broken. Near the center a small soli- 
tary " kopje " rose. Alone it lay there, a heap of 
round ironstones piled one upon the other, as 
over some giant's grave. Here and there a few 
tufts of grass or small succulent plants had sprung 
up among its stones, and on the very summit a 



10 THE STORY OF 

clump of prickly pears lifted their thorny arms, 
and reflected, as from mirrors, the moonlight on 
their broad fleshy leaves. At the foot of the 
" kopje " lay the homestead. First, the stone- 
walled " sheep kraals " and Kaffir huts ; beyond 
them the dwelling-house— a square red-brick 
building with thatched roof. Even on its bare 
red walls, and the wooden ladder that led up to 
the loft, the moonlight cast a kind of dreamy 
beauty, and quite etherealized the low brick wall 
that ran before the house, and which enclosed a 
bare patch of sand and two straggling sunflowers. 
On the zinc roof of the great open wagon-house, 
on the roofs of the outbuildings that jutted from 
its side, the moonlight glinted with a quite pecul- 
iar brightness, till it seemed that every rib in the 
metal was of burnished silver. 

Sleep ruled everywhere, and the homestead was 
not less quiet than the solitary plain. 

In the farm-house, on her great wooden bed- 
stead, Tant' Sannie, the Boer-woman, rolled heav- 
ily in her sleep. 

She had gone to bed, as she always did, in her 
clothes, and the night was warm and the room 
close, and she dreamed bad dreams. Not of the 
ghosts and devils that so haunted her waking 
thoughts ; not of her second husband, the con- 
sumptive Englishman, whose grave lay away be- 
yond the ostrich-camps, nor of her first, the young 
Boer ; but only of the sheep's trotters she had 
eaten for supper that night. She dreamed that 
one stuck fast in her throat, and she rolled her 
huge form from side to side, and snorted horribly. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. . u 

In the next room, where the maid had forgotten 
to close the shutter, the white moonlight fell in in 
a flood, and made it light as day. There were two 
small beds against the wall. In one lay a yellow- 
haired child, with a low forehead and a face of 
freckles ; but the loving moonlight hid defects 
here as elsewhere, and showed only the innocent 
face of a child in its first sweet sleep. 

The figure in the companion bed belonged of 
right to the moonlight, for it was of quite elfin-like 
beauty. The child had dropped her cover on the 
floor, and the moonlight looked in at the naked 
little limbs. Presently she opened her eyes and 
looked at the moonlight that was bathing her. 

" Em ! " she called to the sleeper in the other 
bed ; but received no answer. Then she drew 
the cover from the floor, turned her pillow, and 
pulling the sheet over her head, went to sleep 
again. 

Only in one of the outbuildings that jutted from 
the wagon-house there was some one who was not 
asleep. The room was dark ; door and shutter 
were closed ; not a ray of light entered anywhere. 
The German overseer, to whom the room be- 
longed, lay sleeping soundly on his bed in the 
corner, his great arms folded, and his bushy gray 
and black beard rising and falling on his breast. 
But one in the room was not asleep. Two large 
eyes looked about in the darkness, and two small 
hands were smoothing the patchwork quilt. The 
boy, who slept on a box under the window, had 
just awakened from his first sleep. He drew the 
quilt up to his chin, so that little peered above it 



12 THE STORY OF 

but a great head of silky black curls and the two 
black eyes. He stared about in the darkness. 
Nothing was visible, not even the outline of one 
worm-eaten rafter, nor of the deal table, on which 
lay the Bible from which his father had read 
before they went to bed. No one could tell where 
the tool-box was, and where the fireplace. There 
was something very impressive to the child in the 
complete darkness. 

At the head of his father's bed hung a great 
silver hunting watch. It ticked loudly. The boy 
listened to it, and began mechanically to count. 
Tick — tick — tick ! one, two, three, four ! He lost 
count presently, and only listened. Tick — tick — 
tick — tick ! 

It never waited ; it went on inexorably ; and 
every time it ticked a man died! He raised him- 
self a little on his elbow and listened. He wished 
it would leave off. 

How many times had it ticked since he came 
to lie down ? A thousand times, a million times, 
perhaps. 

He tried to count again, and sat up to listen 
better. 

" Dying, dying, dying ! " said the watch ; " dy- 
ing, dying dying ! " 

He heard it distinctly. Where were they going 
to, all those people ? 

He lay down quickly, and pulled the cover up 
over his head ; but presently the silky curls reap- 
peared. 

" Dying, dying, dying!" said the watch \ "dy* 
ing, dying, dying ! " 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 13 

He thought of the words his father had read 
that evening—" For wid, is the gate, and broad- 
is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many 
there be which go in thereat." 

" Many, many, many ! " said the watch. 

" Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the 
way, that leadeth unto life, and few there be thai 
find it." 

" Few, few, few ! " said the watch. 

The b'oy lay with his eyes wide open. He saw 
before him a long stream of people, a great dark 
multitude, that moved in one direction ; then they 
came to the dark edge of the world, and went 
over. He saw them passing on before him, and 
there was nothing that could stop them. He 
thought of how that stream had rolled on through 
all the long ages of the past— how the old Greeks 
and Romans had gone over ; the countless mill- 
ions of China and India, they were going over 
now. Since he had come to bed, how many had 

gone ! 

And the watch said, " Eternity, eternity, eter- 
nity ! " 

" Stop them ! stop them ! " cried the child. 

And all the while the watch kept ticking on; 
just like God's will, that never changes or alters, 
you may do what you please. 

Great beads of perspiration stood on the boy's 
forehead. He climbed out of bed and lay with 
his face turned to the mud floor. 

" Oh, God, God ! save them ! " he cried in 
agony. " Only some ; only a few ! Only for each 
moment I am praying here one ! " He folded 



14 THE STORY OF 

his little hands upon his head. "God! God! 
save them ! " 

He groveled on the floor. 

Oh, the long, long ages of the past, in which 
they had gone over ! Oh, the long, long future, 
in which they would pass away ! Oh, God ! the 
long, long, long eternity, which has no end ! 

The child wept, and crept closer to the ground. 

The Sacrifice. 

The farm by daylight was not as the farm by 
moonlight. The plain was a weary flat of loose 
red sand, sparsely covered by dry karroo bushes, 
that cracked beneath the tread like tinder, and 
showed the red earth everywhere. Here and 
there a milk-bush lifted its pale-colored rods, and 
in every direction the ants and beetles ran about 
in the blazing sand. The red walls of the farm- 
house, the zinc roofs of the outbuildings, the 
stone walls of the " kraals," all reflected the 
fierce sunlight, till the eye ached and blenched. 
No tree or shrub was to be seen far or near. The 
two sunflowers that stood before the door, out- 
stared by the sun, drooped their brazen faces to 
the sand; and the little cicada-like insects cried 
aloud among the stones of the " kopje." 

The Boer- woman, seen by daylight, was even 
less lovely than when, in bed, she rolled and 
dreamed. She sat on a chair in the great front 
room, with her feet on a wooden stove, and wiped 
her flat face with the corner of her apron, and 
drank coffee, and in Cape Dutch swore that the 
beloved weather was damned. Less lovely, too, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. ,5 

by daylight was the dead Englishman's child, her 
little step-daughter, upon whose freckles and low, 
Wrinkled forehead the sunlight had no mercy. 

" Lyndall," the child said to her little orphan 
tousin, who sat with her on the floor threading 
beads, " how is it your beads never fall off your 
needle ? " 

" I try," said the little one gravely, moistening 
her tiny finger. " That is why." 

The overseer, seen by daylight, was a huge 
German, wearing a shabby suit, and with a child- 
ish habit of rubbing his hands and nodding his 
head prodigiously when pleased at anything. He 
stood out at the kraals in the blazing sun, explain- 
ing to two Kaffir boys the approaching end of the 
world. The boys, as they cut the cakes of dung, 
winked at each other, and worked as slowly as 
they possibly could ; but the German never 
saw it. 

Away, beyond the " kopje," Waldo, his son, 
herded the ewes and lambs — a small and dusty 
herd — powdered all over from head to foot with 
red sand, wearing a ragged coat and shoes of un- 
dressed leather, through whose holes the toes 
looked out. His hat was too large, and had sunk 
down to his eyes, concealing completely the silky 
black curls. It was a curious small figure. His 
flock gave him little trouble. It was too hot 
for them to move far ; they gathered round every 
little milk-bush as though they hoped to find 
shade, and stood there motionless in clumps. He 
himself crept under a shelving rock that lay at 
the foot of the " kopje," stretched himself on his 



j6' THE STORY OF 

stomach, and waved his dilapidated little shoes 
in the air. 

Soon, from the blue bag where he kept his 
dinner, he produced a fragment of slate, an 
arithmetic, and a pencil. Proceeding to put 
down a sum with solemn and earnest demeanor, 
he began to add it up aloud : " Six and two is 
eight — and four is twelve — and two is fourteen — 
and four is eighteen." Here he paused. " And 
four is eighteen — and — four — is — eighteen." The 
last was very much drawled. Slowly the pencil 
slipped from his fingers, and the slate followed it 
into the sand. For a while he lay motionless, 
then began muttering to himself, folded his little 
arms, laid his head down upon them, and might 
have been asleep, but for a muttering sound that 
from time to time proceeded from him. A curi- 
ous old ewe came to sniff at him ; but it was 
long before he raised his head. When he did, 
he looked at the far-off hills with his heavy eyes. 

"Ye shall receive — ye shall receive — shall, 
shall, shall," he muttered. 

He sat up then. Slowly the dullness and heavi- 
ness melted from his face ; it became radiant. 
Mid-day had come now, and the sun's rays were 
poured down vertically ; the earth throbbed be- 
fore the eye. 

The boy stood up quickly, and cleared a small 
space from the bushes which covered.it. Look- 
ing carefully, he found twelve small stones of 
somewhat the same size; kneeling down, he 
arranged them carefully on the cleared space in 
a square pile, in shape like a-n altar. Then he 



, AN AFRICAN FARM. 17 

walked to the bag where his dinner was kept ; in 
it was a mutton-chop and a large slice of brown 
bread. The boy took them out and turned the 
bread over in his hand, deeply considering it. 
Finally he threw it away and walked to the altar 
with the meat, and laid it down on the stones. 
Close by in the red sand he knelt down. Sure, 
never since the beginning of the world was there 
so ragged and so small a priest. He took off his 
great hat and placed it solemnly on the ground, 
then closed his eyes and folded his hands. He 
prayed aloud. 

" Oh, God, my Father, I have made Thee a 
sacrifice. I have only twopence, so I cannot buy 
a lamb. If the lambs were mine I would give 
Thee one ; but now I have only this meat ; it is 
my jiinner-meat. Please, my Father, send fire 
down from heaven to burn it. Thou hast said, 
Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou 
cast into the sea, nothing doubting, it shall be 
done. I ask for the sake of Jesus Christ. 
Amen." 

He knelt down with his face upon the ground, 
and he folded his hands upon his curls. The 
fierce sun poured down its heat upon his head and 
upon his altar. When he looked up he knew 
what he should see — the glory of God ! For fear 
his very heart stood still, his breath came heavily ; 
he was half suffocated. He dared not look up. 
Then at last he raised himself. Above him was 
the quiet blue sky, about him the red earth ; 
there were the clumps of silent ewes and his 
altar — that was aU, 
a 



IS THE STOR Y OF 

He looked up — nothing broke the intense still- 
ness of the blue overhead. He looked round in 
astonishment, then he bowed again, and this time 
longer than before. 

When he raised himself the second time all 
was unaltered. Only the sun had melted the fat 
of the little mutton-chop, and it ran down upon 
the stones. 

Then, the third time he bowed himself. When 
at last he looked up, some ants had come to the 
meat on the altar. He stood up and drove them 
away. Then he put his hat on his hot curls, and 
sat in the shade. He clasped his hands about 
his knees. He sat to watch what would come 
to pass. The glory of the Lord God Almighty ! 
He knew he should see it. 

" My dear God is trying me," he said ; and he 
sat there through the fierce heat of the afternoon. 
Still he watched and waited when the sun began 
to slope ; and when it neared the horizon, and 
the sheep began to cast long shadows across the 
karroo, he still sat there. He hoped when the 
first rays touched the hills till the sun dipped 
behind them and was gone. Then he called his 
ewes together, and broke down the altar, and 
threw the meat far, far away into the field. 

He walked home behind his flock. His heart 
was heavy. He reasoned so : " God cannot lie. 
I had faith. No fire came. I am like Cain — I 
am not His. He will not hear my prayer. God 
hates me." 

The boy's heart was heavy. When he reached 
the " kraal " gate the two girls met him,. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 19 

Come," said the yellow-haired Em, "let uf 
play 'coop/ There is still time before it gets 
quite dark. You, Waldo, go and hide on the 
* kopje ' ; Lyndall and I will shut eyes here, and 
we will not look." 

The girls hid their faces in the stone wall of 
the sheep-kraal, and the boy clambered half way 
up the "kopje." He crouched down between 
two stones and gave the call. Just then the milk- 
herd came walking out of the cow-kraal with two 
pails. He was an ill-looking Kaffir. 

" Ah ! " thought the boy, " perhaps he will die 
to-night, and go to hell ! I must pray for him, I 
must pray ! " 

Then he thought — " Where am I going to ? " 
and he prayed desperately. 

" Ah ! this is not right at all," little Em said, 
peeping between the stones, and finding him in a 
very curious posture. " What are you doing, 
Waldo? It is not the play, you know. You 
should run out when we come to the white stone. 
Ah, you do not play nicely." 

" I — I will play nicely now," said the boy, com- 
ing out and standing sheepishly before them ; 
" I — I only forgot ; I will play now." 

" He has been to sleep," said freckled Em. 

" No," said beautiful little Lyndall, looking 
curiously at him ; " he has been crying." 

She never made a mistake. 

The Confession. 

One night, two years after, the boy sat alone on 
the " kopje." He had crept softly from his 



2 o THE STOR Y OF 

father's room and come there. He often did, 
because, when he prayed or cried aloud, his father 
might awake and hear him ; and none knew his 
great sorrow, and none knew his grief, but he 
himself, and he buried them deep in his heart. 

He turned up the brim of his great hat and 
looked at the moon, but most at the leaves of the 
prickly pear that grew just before him. They 
glinted, and glinted, and glinted, just like his own 
heart — cold, so hard, and very wicked. His phys- 
ical heart had pain also ; it seemed full of little 
bits of glass, that hurt. He had sat there for 
half an hour, *and he dared not go back to the 
close house. 

He felt horribly lonely. There was not one 
thing so wicked as he in all the world, and he 
knew it. He folded his arms and began to cry — 
not aloud ; he sobbed without making any sound, 
and his tears left scorched marks where they fell. 
He could not pray ; he had prayed night and day 
for so many months ; and to-night he could not 
pray. When he left off crying, he held his aching 
head with his brown hands. If one might have 
gone up to him and touched him kindly ; poor, 
ugly little thing ! Perhaps his heart was almost 
broken. 

With his swollen eyes he sat there on a flat 
stone at the very top of the " kopje," and the 
tree, with every one of its wicked leaves, blinked, 
and blinked, and blinked at him. Presently he 
began to cry again, and then stopped his crying 
to look at it. He was quiet for a long while, 
then he knelt up slowly and bent forward. There 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 2 1 

was a secret he had carried in his heart for a 
year. He had not dared to look at it ; he had 
not whispered it to himself ; but for a year he 
had carried it. "I hate God ! " he said. The 
wind took the words and ran away with them, 
among the stones, and through the leaves of the 
prickly pear. He thought it died away half down 
the " kopje." He had told it now ! 

" I love Jesus Christ, but I hate God." 

The wind carried away that sound as it had done 
the first. Then he got up and buttoned his old 
coat about him. He knew he was certainly lost 
now ; he did not care. If half the world were to 
be lost, why not he too ? He would not pray for 
mercy any more. Better so — better to know 
certainly. It was ended now. Better so. 

He began scrambling down the sides of the 
" kopje " to go home. 

Better so !— But oh, the loneliness, the agon- 
ized pain ! for that night, and for nights on nights 
to come ! The anguish that sleeps all day on 
the heart like a heavy worm, and wakes up at 
night to feed ! \, 

"-"There are some of us who in after years say to 
Fate, " Now deal us your hardest blow, give us 
what you will ; but let us never again suffer as 
we suffered when we were children." 

The barb in the arrow of childhood's suffering 
is this : its intense loneliness, its intense igno 
ranee. 



\$ 



^ 



22 THE STORY OF 

CHAPTER II. 

PLANS AND BUSHMAN-PAINTINGS. 

At last came the year of the great drought, the 
year of eighteen-sixty-two. From end to end of 
the land the earth cried for water. Man and 
beast turned their eyes to the pitiless sky, that 
like the roof of some brazen oven arched over- 
head. On the farm, day after day, month after 
month, the water in the dams fell lower and 
lower ; the sheep died in the fields ; the cattle, 
scarcely able to crawl, tottered as they moved 
from spot to spot in search of food. Week after 
week, month after month, the sun looked down 
from the cloudless sky, till the karroo-bushes were 
leafless sticks, broken into the earth, and the 
earth itself was naked and bare ; and only the 
milk-bushes, like old hags, pointed their shriveled 
fingers heavenward, praying for the rain that 
never came. 

It was on an afternoon of a long day in that 
thirsty summer, that on the side of the " kopje " 
furthest from the homestead the two girls sat. 
They were somewhat grown since the days when 
they played hide-and-seek there ; but they were 
mere children still. 

Their dress was of dark coarse stuff ; their 
common blue pinafores reached to their ankles* 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 23 

and on their feet they wore home-made " vel- 
schoen." 

They sat under a shelving rock, on the surface 
of which were still visible some old Bushman- 
paintings, their red and black pigments having 
been preserved through long years from wind and 
rain by the overhanging ledge ; grotesque oxen, 
elephants, rhinoceroses, and a one-horned beast, 
such as no man ever has seen or ever shall. 

The girls sat with their backs to the paintings. 
In their laps were a few fern and ice-plant leaves, 
which by dint of much searching they had gath- 
ered under the rocks. 

Em took off her big brown kappje and began 
vigorously to fan her red face with it ; but her 
companion bent low over the leaves in her lap, 
and at last took up an ice-plant leaf and fastened 
it on to the front of her blue pinafore with a pin. 

" Diamonds must look as these drops do," she 
said, carefully bending over the leaf, and crush- 
ing one crystal drop with her delicate little nail. 
" When I," she said, " am grown up, I shall wear 
real diamonds, exactly like these, in my hair.'' 

Her companion opened her eyes and wrinkled 
her low forehead. 

*• Where will you find them, Lyndall ? The 
stones are only crystals that we picked up yester- 
day. Old Otto says so." 

" And you think that I am going to stay here 
always?" 

The lip trembled scornfully. 

" Ah, no," said her companion. " I suppose 
some day we shall go somewhere j but now ws 



24 *** THE STORY OF 

are only twelve, and we cannot marry till we are 
seventeen. Four years, five — that is a long time 
to wait. And we might not have diamonds if we 
did marry." 

" And you think that I am going to stay here 
till then ? " 

" Well, where are you going ? " asked her com- 
panion. 

The girl crushed an ice-plant leaf between her 
fingers. 

" Tant' Sannie is a miserable old woman," she 
said. " Your father married her when he was 
dying, because he thought she would take better 
care of the farm, and of us, than an English- 
woman. He said we should be taught- and sent 
to school. Now she saves every farthing for her- 
self, buys us not even one old book. She does 
not ill-use us — why ? Because she is afraid of 
your father's ghost. Only this morning she told 
her Hottentot that she would have beaten you 
for breaking the plate, but that three nights ago 
she heard a rustling and a grunting behind the 
pantry door, and knew it was your father coming 
to ' spook ' her. She is a miserable old woman," 
said the girl, throwing the leaf from her ; " but I 
intend to go to school." 

" And if she won't let you ? " 

" I shall make her." 

"How ? " 

The child took not the slightest notice of the 
last question, and folded her small arms across 
her knees. 

"But why do you want to go, Lyndali ? " 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



2 5 



"There is nothing helps in this world," said 
the child slowly, "but to be very wise, and to 
know everything — to be clever." 

" But I should not like to go to school ! " per- 
sisted the small freckled face. 

"And you do not need to. When you are 
seventeen this Boer-woman will go ; you will have 
this farm and everything that is upon it for your 
own ; but I," said Lyndall, " will have nothing. 
I must learn." 

" Oh, Lyndall ! I will give you some of my 
sheep," said Em, with a sudden burst of pitying 
generosity. 

" I do not want your sheep," said the girl slowly; 
" I want things of my own. When I am grown 
up," she added, the flush on her delicate features 
deepening at every word, " there will be nothing 
that I do not know. I shall be rich, very rich; 
and I shall wear not only for best, but every day, 
a pure white silk, and little rose-buds, like the 
lady in Tant' Sannie's bedroom, and my petti- 
coats will be embroidered, not only at the bottom, 
but all through." 

The lady in Tant' Sannie's bedroom was a 
gorgeous creature from a fashion sheet, which 
the Boer-woman, somewhere obtaining, had pasted 
up at the foot of her bed, to be profoundly admired 
by the children. 

"It would be very nice," said Em; but it 
seemed a dream of quite too transcendent a glory 
ever to be realized. 

At this instant there appeared at the foot of the 
<4 kopje " two figures — the one, a dog, white nd 



26 THE STORY OF 

sleek, one yellow ear hanging down over his left 
eye ; the other, his master, a lad of fourteen, and 
no other than the boy Waldo, grown into a heavy, 
slouching youth of fourteen. The dog mounted 
the "kopje " quickly, his master followed slowly. 
He wore an aged jacket much too large for hiir^ 
and roiled up at the wrists, and, as of old, a pair 
of dilapidate* " velschoens " and a felt hat. He 
stood before the two girls at last. 

" What have you been doing to-day ? " asked 
Lyndall, lifting her eyes to his face. 

" Looking after ewes and lambs below the dam. 
Here ! " he said, holding out his hand awkwardly, 
" I brought them for you." 

There were a few green blades of tender 
grass. 

" Where did you find them ? " 

"On the dam wall." 

She fastened them beside the leaf on her blue 
pinafore. 

" They look nice there," said the boy, awkwardly 
rubbing his great hands and watching her. 

" Yes ; but the pinafore spoils it all ; it is not 
pretty." 

He looked at it closely. 

" Yes, the squares are ugly ; but it looks nice 
upon you — beautiful." 

He now stood silent before them, his great 
hands hanging loosely at either side. 

" Some one has come to-day," he mumbled out 
suddenly, when the idea struck hirn. 

"Who? " asked both girls. 

" An Englishman eu foot." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 27 

■ 1 

"What does he look like?" asked Em. 

« I did not notice ; but he has a very large 
nose," said the boy slowly. " He asked the way 
to the house." 

" Didn't he tell you his name ? 

« Yes— Bonaparte Blenkins." 

" Bonaparte ! " said Em, " why, that is like the 
reel Hottentot Hans plays on the violin— 

« ' Bonaparte, Bonaparte, my wife is sick ; 
In the middle of the week, but Sundays not, 
I give her rice and beans for soup . 

It is a funny name." 

" There was a living man called Bonaparte 
once," said she of the great eyes. 

" Ah, yes, I know," said Em— "the poor prophet 
whom the lions ate. I am always so sorry for 

him." . . 1 

Her companion cast a, quiet glance upon hen 
" He was the greatest man who ever lived, 
she said, " the man I like best." 

" And what did he do ? " asked Em, conscious 
that she had made a mistake, and that her prophet 
was not the man. # ■ • 

" He was one man, only one," said her little 
companion slowly, "yet all the people in the 
world feared him. He was not born great, he 
was common as we are ; yet he was master of the 
world at last. Once he was only a little child, 
then he was a lieutenant, then he was a general, 
then he was an emperor. When he said a thing 
to himself he never forgot it. He waited, and 
waited, and waited, and it came at last." 

" He must have been very happy," said Em. 



28 THE STORY OF 

*" I do not know," said Lyndall ; " but he had 
what he said he would have, and that is better 
than being happy. He was their master, and all 
the people were white with fear of him. ' They 
joined together to fight him. He was one and 
they were many, and they got him down at last. 
They were like the wild cats when their teeth 
are fast in a great dog, like cowardly wild cats," 
said the child, " they would not let him go. 
They were many ; he was only one. They sent 
him to an island in the sea, a lonely island, and 
kept him there fast. He was one man, and they 
were many, and they were terrified at him. It 
was glorious ! " said the child. 

" And what then ? " said Em. 

" Then he was alone there in that island with 
men to watch him always," said her companion, 
slowly and quietly, " and in the long lonely nights 
he used to lie awake and think of the things he 
had done in the old days, and the things he would 
do if they let him go again. In the day when he 
walked near the shore it seemed to him that the 
sea all around him was a cold chain about his 
body pressing him to death." 

" And then ? " said Em, much interested. 

" He died there in that island ; he never got 
away." 

" It is rather a nice story," said Em ; "but the 
end is sad." 

" It is a terrible, hateful ending," said the little 
teller of the story, leaning forward on her folded 
arms ; " and the worst is, it is true. I have 
noticed," added the child very deliberately, " that 



AN AFRICAN FA RM. 29 

it is only the made-up stories that end nicely ; the 
true ones all end so." 

As she spoke the boy's dark, heavy eyes rested 
on her face. 

" You have read it, have you not ? " 

He nodded. " Yes ; but the brown history 
tells only what he did, not what he thought." " 

" It was in the brown history that I read of 
him,"' said the girl ; " but I know what he thought. 
Books do not tell everything." 

" No," said the boy, slowly drawing nearer to 
her and sitting down at her feet. " What you 
want to know they never tell." 

Then the children fell into silence, till Doss, 
the dog, growing uneasy at its long continuance, 
sniffed at one and the other, and his master 
broke forth suddenly — 

" If they could talk, if they could tell us now ! 
he said, moving his hand out over the surround- 
ing objects— " then we would know something, 
This ' kopje,' if it could tell us how it came here ! 
The ' Physical Geography ' says," he went on 
most rapidly and confusedly, " that what are dry 
lands now were once lakes ; and what I think is 
this— these low hills were once the shores of a 
lake ; this ' kopje ' is some of the stones that 
were at the bottom, rolled together by the water. 
But there is this— how did the water come to 
make one heap here alone, in the center of the 
plain ? '' It was a ponderous question ; no one 
volunteered an answer. " Wlien I was little," 
said the boy, " I always looked at it and won- 
dered, and I thought a great giant was buried 



30 THE STORY OF 

under it. Now I know the water must have done 
it ; but how ? It is very wonderful. Did one 
little stone come first, and stopped the others as 
they rolled ? " said the boy with earnestness, in a 
low voice, more as speaking to himself than to 
them. 

" Oh, Waldo, God put the little ' kopje' here," 
said Em, with solemnity. 

" But how did He put it here ? " 

" By wanting." 

" But how did the wanting bring it here ? " 

" Because it did." 

The last words were uttered with the air of one 
who produces a clinching argument. What effect 
it had on the questioner was not evident, for he 
made no reply, and turned away from her. 

Drawing closer to Lyndall's feet, he said after 
a while in a low voice, 

" Lyndall, has it never seemed to you that the 
stones were talking with you ? Sometimes," he 
added, in a yet lower tone, " I lie under there 
with my sheep, and it seems that the stones are 
really speaking — speaking of the old things, of 
the time when the strange fishes and animals 
lived that are turned into stone now, and the lakes 
were here ; and then of the time when the little 
Bushmen lived here, so small and so ugly, and 
used to sleep in the wild dog holes, and in the 
'sloots,' and eat snakes, and shot the bucks with 
their poisoned arrows. It was one of them, one 
of these old wild Bushmen, that painted those, ;> 
said the boy, nodding toward the pictures — " one 
who was different from the rest. He did not 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 31 

know why, but he wanted to make something 
beautiful— he wanted to make something, so he 
made these. He worked hard, very hard, to find 
the juice to make the paint ; and then he found 
this place where the rocks hang over, and he 
painted them. To us they are only strange things, 
that make us laugh ; but to him they were very 
beautiful." 

The children had turned round and looked at 
the pictures. 

" He used to kneel here naked, painting, paint- 
ing, painting ; and he wondered at the things he 
made himself," said the boy, rising and moving 
his hand in deep excitement. " Now the Boers 
have shot them all, so that we never see a little 
yellow face peeping out among the stones." He 
paused, a dreamy look coming over his face. 
" And the wild bucks have gone, and those days, 
and we are here. But we will be gone soon, and 
only the stones will lie on here, looking at every- 
thing like they look now. I know that it is I who 
am thinking," the fellow added slowly, " but it 
seems as though it were they who are talking. 
Has it never seemed so to you, Lyndall ? " 

" No, it never seems so to me," she answered. 
The sun had dipped now below the hills, and 
the boy, suddenly remembering the ewes and 
lambs, started to his feet. 

" Let us also go- to the house and see who has 
come," said Em, as the boy shuffled away to re- 
join his flock, while Doss ran at his heels, snap- 
ping at the ends of the torn trousers as they 
fluttered in the wind. 



32 THE STORY OF 

CHAPTER IIL 

I WAS A STRANGER, AND YE TOOK ME W. 

As the two girls rounded the side of the 
" kopje," an unusual scene presented itself. A 
large group was gathered at the back door of the 
homestead. 

On the door-step stood the Boer-woman, a hand 
on each hip, her face red and fiery, her head nod- 
ding fiercely. At her feet sat the yellow Hottentot 
maid, her satellite, and around stood the black 
Kaffir maids, with blankets twisted round their 
half-naked figures. Two, who stamped mealies 
in a wooden block, held the great stampers in 
their hands, and stared stupidly at the object of 
attraction. It certainly was not to look at the 
old German overseer, who stood in the center of 
the group, that they had all gathered together. 
His salt-and-pepper suit, grizzly black beard, and 
gray eyes were as familiar to every one on the 
farm as the red gables of the homestead itself ; 
but beside him stood the stranger, and on him 
all eyes were fixed. Ever and anon the new- 
comer cast a glance over his pendulous red nosa 
to the spot where the Boer-woman stood, and 
smiled faintly. 

" I'm not a child,"' cried the Boer-woman, in 
low Cape Dutch, " and I wasn't born yesterday. 
No, by the Lord, no I You can't take me in ! 
My mother didn't wean me on Monday. One 



AJST AFRICAN FARM. 3* 

*vink of my eye and I see the whole thing. I'll 
have no tramps sleeping on my farm," cried Tant' 
Sannie, blowing. " No, by the Devil, no ! not 
though he had sixty-times-six red noses." 

There the German overseer mildly interposed 
that the man was not a tramp, but a highly re- 
spectable individual, whose horse had died by an 
accident three days before. 

" Don't tell me," cried the Boer-woman ; " the 
man isn't born that can take me in. If he'd had 
money, wouldn't he have bought a horse ? Men 
who walk are thieves, liars, murderers, Rome's 
priests, seducers ! I see the Devil in his nose ! " 
cried Tant' Sannie, shaking her fist at him ; "and 
to come walking into the house of this Boer's 
child, and shaking hands as though he came on 
horseback ! Oh ! no, no ! " 

The stranger took off his hat, a tall battered 
chimney-pot, and disclosed a bald head, at the 
back of which was a little fringe of curled white 
hair; and he bowed to Tant' Sannie. 

" What does she remark, my friend ? " he in- 
quired, turning his cross wise-looking eyes on the 
old German. 

The German rubbed his old hands, and hesi- 
tated. 

" Ah — well — ah — the — Dutch — you know — do 
not like people who walk — in this country — ah ! " 

" My dear friend," said the stranger, laying his 
hand on trie German's arm, " I should have 
bought myself another horse, but crossing, five 
days ago, a full river, I lost my purse — a purse 
With five hundred pounds in it. I spent five days 



34 THE STORY OF 

e>n the bank of the river trying to find it — couldn't. 
Paid a Kaffir nine pounds to go in and look for ir 
at the risk of his life — couldn't find it." 

The German would have translated this infor- 
mation, but the Boer-woman gave no ear. 

" No, no ; he goes to-night. See how he looks 
at me — a poor, unprotected female ! If he 
wrongs me, who is to do me right? " cried Tant' 
Sannie. 

" I think," said the German in an undertone, 
" if you didn't look at her quite so much it might 
be advisable. She — ah — she — might — imagine 
that you liked her too well — in fact — ah " 

" Certainly, my dear friend, certainly," said the 
stranger, " I shall not look at her," 

Saying this, he turned his nose full upon a 
small Kaffir of two years old. That small naked 
son of Ham became instantly so terrified that he 
fled to his mother's blanket for protection, howl- 
ing horribly. 

Upon this the new-comer fixed his eyes pen- 
sively on the stamp-block, folding his hands on 
the head of his cane. His boots were broken 
but he still had the cane of a gentleman. 

" You vaggabonds se Engelschman ! " said Tant* 
Sannie, looking straight at him. 

This was a near approach to plain English ; 
but the man contemplated the block abstractedly, 
wholly unconscious that any antagonism was 
being displayed toward him. 

" You might not be a Scotchman or anything 
of that kind, might you ? " suggested the German. 
w It is the English that she hates." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 35 

"My dear friend," said the stranger, "lam 
Irish every inch of me — father Irish, mother 
Irish. I've not a drop of English blood in my 
veins." 

" And you might not be married, might you ? " 
persisted the German. " If you had a wife and 
children now ? Dutch people do not like those 
who are not married." 

"Ah," said the stranger, looking tenderly at 
the block, " I have a dear wife and three sweet 
little children — two lovely girls and a noble 
boy." 

This information having been conveyed to the 
Boer-woman, she, after some further conversation, 
appeared slightly mollified, but remained firm 
to her conviction that the man's designs were 
evil. 

" For dear Lord ! " she cried, " all Englishmen 
are ugly ; but was there ever such a red-rag-nosed 
thing with broken boots and crooked eyes before ? 
Take him to your room," she cried to the Ger- 
man ; " but all the sin he does I lay at your 
door." 

The German having told him how matters were 
arranged, the stranger made a profound bow to 
Tant' Sannie, and followed his host, who led the 
way to his own little room. 

" I thought she would come to her better self 
soon," the German said joyously. " Tant' Sannie 
is not wholly bad, far from it, far." Then seeing 
his companion cast a furtive glance at him, which 
he mistook for one of surprise, he added quickly, 
u Ah, yes, yes ; we are all a primitive people here 



36 THE STORY 0? 

—not very lofty. We deal not in titles. Every 
one is Tanta and Oom — aunt and uncle. This 
may be my room," he said, opening the door. 
" It is rough, the room is rough ; not a palace — ■ 
not quite. But it may be better than the fields, 
a little better ! " he said, glancing round at his 
companion. " Come in, come in. There is 
something to eat — a mouthful : not the fare of 
emperors or kings ; but we do not starve, not 
yet," he said, rubbing his hands together and 
looking round with a pleased, half-nervous smile 
on his old face. 

" My friend, my dear friend," said the stranger, 
seizing him by the hand, " may the Lord bless 
you, the Lord bless and reward you — the God of 
the fatherless and the stranger. But for you I 
would this night have slept in the fields, with the 
dews of heaven upon my head." 

Late that evening Lyndall came down to the 
cabin with the German's rations. Through the 
tiny square window the light streamed forth, and 
without knocking she raised the latch and entered. 
There was a fire burning on the hearth, and it 
cast its ruddy glow over the little dingy room, 
with its worm-eaten rafters and mud floor, and 
broken white-washed walls. A curious little 
place, filled with all manner of articles. Next to 
the fire was a great tool-box ; beyond that the 
little book-shelf with its well-worn books ; beyond 
that, in the corner, a heap of filled and empty 
grain-bags. From the rafters hung down straps, 
" reims," old boots, bits of harness, and a string 
of onions. The bed was in another corner, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 37 

covered by a patchwork quilt of faded red lions, 
and divided from the rest of the room by a blue 
curtain, now drawn back. On the mantel-shelf 
was an endless assortment of little bags and stones ; 
and on the wall hung a map of South Germany, 
with a red line drawn through it to show where 
the German had wandered. This place was the 
one home the girls had known for many a year. 
The house where Tant' Sannie lived and ruled 
was a place to sleep in, to eat in, not to be happy 
in. It was in vain she told them they were grown 
too old to go there ; every morning and evening 
found them there. Were there not too many 
golden memories hanging about the old place 
for them to leave it? 

Long winter nights, when they had sat round 
the fire and roasted potatoes, and asked riddles, 
and the old man had told of the little German 
village, where, fifty years before, a little German 
boy had played at snowballs, and had carried 
home the knitted stockings of a little girl who 
afterward became Waldo's mother ; did they not 
seem to see .the German peasant girls walking 
about with their wooden shoes and yellow, braid- 
ed hair, and the little children eating their sup- 
pers out of little wooden bowls when the good 
mothers called them in to have their milk and 
potatoes ? 

And were there not yet better times than 
these? Moonlight nights, when they romped 
about the door, with the old man, yet more a 
child than any of them, and laughed till the old 
roof of the wagon-house rang ? 



3 8 THE STORY OF 

Or, best of all, were there not warm, dark, 
starlight nights, when they sat together on th door* 
step, holding each other's hands, singing German 
hymns, their voices rising clear in the still night 
a i r — till the German would draw away his hand 
suddenly to wipe quickly a tear the children 
must not see ? Would they not sit looking up at 
the stars and talking of them— of the dear South- 
ern Cross, red, fiery Mars, Orion, with his belt, 
and the Seven Mysterious Sisters — and fall to 
speculating over them ? How old are they ? 
Who dwelt in them ? And the old German 
would say that perhaps the souls we loved lived 
in them ; there, in that little twinkling point was 
perhaps the little girl whose stockings he had car- 
ried home ; and the children would look up at it 
lovingly, and call it " Uncle Otto's star." Then 
they would fall to deeper speculations — of the 
times and seasons wherein the heavens shall be 
rolled together as a scroll, and the star* shall fall 
as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs ? and there 
shall be time no longer ; " when the Son of man 
shall come in His glory, and all His holy angels 
with Him." In lower and lower tones they 
would talk, till at last they fell into whispers ; 
then they would wish good-night softly, and walk 
home hushed and quiet. 

To-night, when Lyndall looked in, Waldo sat 
before the fire watching a pot which simmered 
there, with his slate and pencil in his hand ; 
his father sat at the table buried in the columns of 
a three-weeks-old newspaper ; and the stranger 
lay stretched on the bed in the corner, fast asleep, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



39 



his mouth open, his great limbs stretched out 
loosely, betokening much weariness. The girl- 
put the rations down upon the table, snuffed the 
candle, and stood looking at the figure on the 
bed. 

"Uncle Otto," she said presently, laying her 
hand down on the newspaper, and causing the old 
German to look up over his glasses, " how long 
did that man say he had been walking?" 

" Since this morning, poor fellow ! A gentle- 
man — not accustomed to walking — horse died — 
poor fellow ! " said the German, pushing out his 
lip and glancing commiseratingly over his spec- 
tacles in the direction of the bed where the 
stranger lay, with his flabby double chin, and 
broken boots through which the flesh shown. 

" And do you believe him, Uncle Otto ? " 

" Believe him ? why of course I do. H** 
himself told me the story three times distinctly." 

" If," said the girl slowly, " he had walked foir 
only one day his boots would not have looker 
so ; and if " 

"If!" said the German, starting up in his 
chair, irritated that anyone should doubt such 
irrefragable evidence— " {/7 Why, he told me 
himself/ Look how he lies there," added the 
German pathetically, " worn out — poor fellow ! 
We have something for him though," pointing 
with his forefinger over his shoulder to the sauce- 
pan that stood on the fire. " We are not cooks 
—not French cooks, not quite ; but it's drink- 
able, drinkable, I think ; better than nothing, I 
think/' he added : ^*«*4ing his head in a jocund 



40 



THE STOR Y OF 



manner, that evinced his high estimation of the 
contents of the saucepan and his profound satis- 
faction therein. " Bish ! bish ! my chicken," he 
said, as Lyndall tapped her little foot up and 
down upon the floor. " Bish ! bish ! my chicken, 
you will wake him." 

He moved the candle so that his own head 
might intervene between it and the sleeper's face ; 
and, smoothing his newspaper, he adjusted his 
spectacles to read. . 

The child's gray-black eyes rested on the figure 
on the bed, then turned to the German, then 
rested on the figure again. 

" I think he is a liar. Good-night, Uncle Otto," 
she said, slowly, turning to the door. 

Long after she had gone the German folded 
his paper up methodically, and put it in his 
pocket. 

The stranger had not awakened to partake of 
the soup, and his son had fallen asleep on the 
ground. Taking two white sheep-skins from the 
heap of sacks in the corner, the old man doubled 
them up, and lifting the boy's head gently from 
the slate on which it rested, placed the skins 
beneath it. 

" Poor lambie, poor lambie," he said, tenderly 
patting the great rough bear-like head ; ' ' tired, 
is he ? " 

He threw an overcoat across the boy's feet, 
and lifted ^ the saucepan from the fire. There 
was no place where the old man could comfort- 
ably lie down himself, so he resumed his seat. 
Opening a much-worn Bible, he began to read, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 41 

and as he read pleasant thoughts and visions 
thronged on him. 

" I was a stranger, and ye took me in," he 
read. 

He turned again to the bed where the sleeper 

lay. 

" I was a stranger." 

Very tenderly the old man looked at him. He 
saw not the bloated body nor the evil face of the 
man ; but, as it were, under deep disguise and 
fleshly concealment, the form that long years of 
dreaming had made very real to him. "Jesus, 
lover, and is it given to us, weak and sinful, frail 
and erring, to serve Thee, to take Thee in ? " he 
said softly, as he rose from his seat Full of 
joy, he began to pace the little room. Now and 
again as he walked he sang the lines of a Ger- 
man hymn, or muttered broken words of prayer. 
The little room was full of light. It appeared to 
the German that Christ was very near him, and 
that at almost any moment the thin mist of 
earthly darkness that clouded his human eyes 
might be withdrawn, and that made manifest of 
which the friends at Emmaus, beholding it, said, 
" It is the Lord ! " 

Again, and yet again, through the long hours 
of that night, as the old man walked, he looked 
up to the roof of his little room, with its black- 
ened rafters, and yet saw them not. His rough 
bearded face was illuminated with a radiant 
gladness ; and the night was not shorter to the 
dreaming sleepers than to him whose waking 
dreams brought heaven near. 



42 



THE STORY OF 



So quickly the night fled, that he looked up 
with surprise when at four o'clock the first gray 
streaks of summer dawn showed themselves 
through the little window. Then the old man 
turned to rake together the few coals that lay 
under the ashes, and his son, turning on the 
sheep-skins, muttered sleepily to know if it were 
time to rise. 

" Lie still, lie still ! I would only make a fire," 
said the old man. 

" Have you been up all night ? " asked the boy. 

" Yes ; but it has been short, very short. Sleep 
again, my chicken : it is yet early." 

And he went out to fetch more fuel. 



CHAPTER IV. 

BLESSED IS HE THAT BELIEVETH. 

Bonaparte Blenkins sat on the side of the 
bed. He had wonderfully revived since the day 
before, held his head high, talked in a full sonor- 
ous voice, and ate greedily of all the viands 
offered him. At his side was a* basin of soup, 
v from which he took a deep draught now and 
again as he watched the fingers of the German, 
who sat on the mud floor before him mending the 
bottom of a chair. 

Presently he looked out, where, in the after- 
noon sunshine, a few half-grown ostriches might 
be seen wandering listlessly about, and then he* 
looked in again at the little white-washed room, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 43 

and at Lyndall, who sat in the doorway looking 
at a book. Then he raised his chin and tried to 
adjust an imaginary shirt-collar. Finding none, 
he smoothed the little gray fringe at the back of 
his head, and began — 

"You are a student of history, I perceive, my 
friend, from the study of these volumes that lie 
scattered about this apartment ; this fact has 
been made evident to me." 

" Well— a little— perhaps — it may be," said the 
German meekly. 

" Being a student of history then," said Bona- 
parte, raising himself loftily, " you will doubtless 
have heard of my great, of my celebrated kins- 
man, Napoleon Bonaparte ? " 

" Yes, yes," said the German, looking up. 

" I, sir," said Bonaparte, " was born at this 
hour, on an April afternoon, three-and-fifty years 
ago. The nurse, sir — she was the same who 
attended when the Duke of Sutherland was born 
— brought me to my mother. ' There is only one 
name for this child,' she said : ' he has the nose 
of his great kinsman ; ' and so Bonaparte Blen- 
kins became my name— Bonaparte Blenkins. 
Yes, sir," said Bonaparte, "there is a stream on 
my maternal side that connects me with his 
maternal side." 

The German made a sound of astonishment. 

"The connection," said Bonaparte, "is one 
which could not be easily comprehended by one 
unaccustomed to the study of aristocratic pedi- 
grees ; but the connection is close." 

" Is it possible ! " said the German, pausing in 



44 



THE STOR Y OF 



his work with much interest and astonishment. 
" Napoleon an Irishman ! " 

"Yes," said Bonaparte, " on the mother's side, 
and that is how we are related. There wasn't a 
man to beat him," said Bonaparte, stretching him- 
self—" not a man except the Duke of Wellington. 
And it's a strange coincidence," added Bonaparte, 
bending forward, "but he was a connection of 
mine. His nephew, the Duke of Wellington's 
nephew, married a cousin of mine. She was a 
woman ! See her at one of the court balls— am- 
ber satin — daisies in her hair. Worth going a 
hundred miles to look at her 1 Often seen her 
mere myself, sir ! " 

The German moved the leather thongs in and 
out, and thought of the strange vicissitudes of 
human life, which might bring the kinsman of 
dukes and emperors to his humble room. 

Bonaparte appeared lost among old memories. 
"Ah, that Duke of Wellington's nephew ! " be 
broke forth suddenly; " many's the joke I've had 
with him. Often came to visit me at Bonaparte 
Hall. Grand place I had then— park, conserv- 
atory, sen-ants. He had only one fault, that Duke 
of Wellington's nephew," said Bonaparte, ob- 
serving that the German was deeply interested in 
ever)' word : " he was a coward — what you might 
call a coward. You've never been in Russia, I 
suppose ? " said Bonaparte, fixing his crosswise 
looking eyes on the German's face. 

" No, no," said the old man humbly. " France, 
England, Germany, a little in this country ; it is 
all I have traveled." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 45 

«/ mv friend," said Bonaparte, "have been 
in every country in the world, and speak every 
civilized language, excepting only Dutch -wd 
German. I wrote a book of my travels-note- 
worthy incidents. Publisher got it-cheated me 
out of it. Great rascals those publishers ! Upon 
one occasion the Duke .of Wellington's nephew 
and I were traveling in Russia. All of a sud- 
den one of the horses dropped down dead as a 
door-nail. There we were— cold night— snow 
four feet thick— great forest-one horse not being 
able to move sledge— night coming on—wolves. 
«' Spree i' says the Duke of Wellington's 

^-Tpree, do you call it ? ' says I. < Look out/ 
« There, sticking out under a bush, was noth- 
ing less than the nose of a bear. The Duke o 
-Wellington's nephew was up a tree like a shot 
I stood quietly on the ground, as cool as , I am at 
this moment, loaded my gun, and climbed up the 
tree There was only one bough. 

<< 'Bon,' said the Duke of Wellington's nephew, 
« vou'd better sit in front.' 

" < All right/ said I ; but keep your gun ready. 
There are g m'ore coming.' He'd got his face 
buried in my back. 

" ' How many are there ? said he. 

" 'Four,' said I. . ., " 

" < How many are there now ? said he. 

«• < Eight ' said I. 

« < How many are there now ? said he. 

" ' Ten ' said I. u • 

"'Ten'l ten!' said he; and down goes his 

gun. 



46 THE XTORY OF 

" * Wallie,' I said, ' what have you done ? We're 
dead men now.' 

" ' Bon, my old fellow,' said he, ' I couldn't 
help it , my hands trembled so ! ' 

" 'Wall,' I said, turning round and seizing his 
hand, ' Wallie, my dear lad, good-bye. I'm not- 
afraid to die. My legs are long — they hang down 
— the first bear that comes and I don't hit him, 
off goes my foot. When he takes it I shall give 
you my gun and go. You may yet be saved ; but 
tell, oh, tell Mary Ann that I thought of her, that 
I prayed for her ! ' 

" ' Good-bye, old fellow ! ' said he. 

" ' God bless you ! ' said I. 

" By this time the bears were sitting in a circle 
all round the tree. Yes," said Bonaparte impres- 
sively, fixing his eyes on the German, " a regular, 
exact circle. The marks of their tails were left 
in the snow, and I measured it afterward ; a 
drawing-master couldn't have done it better. It 
was that saved me. If they'd rushed on me at 
Once, poor old Bon would never have been here 
to tell this story. But they came on, sir, system- 
atically, one by one. All the rest sat on their 
tails and waited. The first fellow came up, and 
I shot him ; the second fellow — I shot him ; the 
third — I shot him. At last the tenth came; he 
was the biggest of all — the leader, you may say. 

" ' Wall,' I said, ' give me your hand. My 
fingers are stiff with the cold ; there is only one 
bullet left. I shall miss him. While he is eating 
me you get down and take your gun ; and live, 
dear friend, live to remember the man who gave 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 47 

his life for you ! ' By that time the bear was at 
me. I felt his paw on my trousers. 

" * Oh, Bonnie ! Bonnie ! ' said the Duke of 
Wellington's nephew. But I just took my gun, 
and put the muzzle to the bear's ear — over he 
fell— dead ! " 

Bonaparte Blenkins waited to observe what 
effect his story had made. Then he took out a 
dirty white handkerchief, and stroked his fore- 
head, and more especially his eyes. 

" It always affects me to relate that adventure," 
he remarked, returning the handkerchief to his 
pocket. " Ingratitude — base, vile ingratitude — 
is recalled by it. That man, that man, who but 
for me would have perished in the pathless wilds 
of Russia, that man in the hour of my adversity 
forsook me." The German looked up. "Yes," 
said Bonaparte, " I had money, I had lands, I said 
to my wife, ' There is Africa, a struggling coun- 
try ; they want capital ; they want men of talent ; 
they want men of ability to open up that land. 
Let us go.' 

" I bought eight thousand pounds worth of 
machinery — winnowing, plowing, reaping ma- 
chines ; I loaded a ship with them. Next steamer 
I came out — wife, children, all. Got to the Cape. 
Where is the ship with the things ? Lost — gone 
to the bottom ! And the box with the money ? 
Lost — nothing saved ! 

" My wife wrote to the Duke of Wellington's 
nephew ; I didn't wish her to ; she did it without 
my knowledge. 

"What did the man whose life I saved do? 



4 8 THE STOR Y OF 

Did he send me thirty thousand pounds ? say 
* Bonaparte, my brother, here is a crumb ' ? No . 
he sent me nothing. 

" My wife, said ' Write.' I said, ' Mary Ann, 
NO. While these hands have power to work, no. 
While this frame has power to endure, no. Never 
shall it be said that Bonaparte Blenkins asked of 
any man.' " 

The man's noble independence touched the 
German. 

" Your case is hard ; yes, that is hard," said 
the German, shaking his head. 

Bonaparte took another draught of the soup, 
leaned back against the pillows, and sighed 
deeply. 

" I think," he said after a while, rousing him- 
self, " I shall now wander in the benign air, and 
taste the gentle cool of the evening. The stiff- 
ness hovers over me yet ; exercise is beneficial." 

So saying, he adjusted his hat carefully on the 
bald crown of his head, and moved to the door. 
After he had gone the German sighed again over 
his work — 

" Ah, Lord ! So it is ! Ah ! " 

He thought of the ingratitude of the world. 

" Uncle Otto," said the child in the doorway, 
" did you ever hear of ten bears sitting on their 
tails in a circle ? " 

" Well, not of ten, exactly ; but bears do attack 
travelers every day. It is nothing unheard of," 
said the German. " A man of such courage too I 
A terrible experience that ! " 

" *nd how do we know that the story is true, 
Unfile Otto?" 



I A At AFRICAN FARM. 49 

The German's ire was roused. 

" That is what I do hate ! " he cried. " Know 
that is true ! How do you know that anything is 
true ? Because you are told so. If we begin to 
question everything — proof, proof, proof, what 
will we have to believe left ? How do you know 
the angel opened the prison-door for Peter, ex- 
cept that Peter said so ? How do you know that 
God talked to Moses, except that Moses wrote it? 
That is what I hate ! " 

The girl knit her brows. Perhaps her thoughts 
made a longer journey than the German dreamed 
of; for, mark you, the old dream little how their 
words and lives are texts and studies to the gen- 
eration that shall succeed them. Not what we 
are taught, but what we see, makes us, and the 
child gathers the food on which the adult feeds 
to the end. 

When the German looked up next there was a 
look of supreme satisfaction in the little mouth 
and the beautiful eyes. 

" What dost see, chicken ? " he asked. 

The child said nothing, and an agonizing shriek 
was born t on the afternoon breeze. 

" Oh, God ! my God ! I am killed ! " cried the 
Voice of Bonaparte, as he, with wide open mouth 
and, shaking flesh, fell into the room, followed by 
a half-grown ostrich, who put its head in at the 
door, opened its beak at him, and went away. 

" Shut the door ! shut the door ! As you value 

my life, shut the door ! " cried Bonaparte, sinking 

into a chair, his face blue and white, with a green* 

ishness about the mouth. " Ah, my friend/' ha 

4 



5<J - -^ THE STORY OF 

said tremulously, " eternity has looked me in the 
face ! My life's thread hung upon a cord ! The 
valley of the shadow of death ! " said Bonaparte, 
seizing the German's arm. 

" Dear, dear, dear ! " said the German, who 
had closed the lower half of the door, and stood 
much concerned beside the stranger, " you have 
had a fright. I never knew so young a bird to 
chase before ; but they will take dislikes toxer- 
tain people. I sent a boy away once because a 
bird would chase him. Ah, dear, dear ! " 

"When I looked round," said Bonaparte, "the, 
red and yawning cavity was above me, and the 
reprehensible paw raised to strike me. My 
nerves," said Bonaparte, suddenly growing faint, 
" always delicate — highly strung — are broken — 
broken ! You could not give a little wine, a little 
brandy, my friend ? " 

The old German hurried away to the book-shelf, 
and took from behind the books a small bottle, 
half of whose contents he poured into a cup. 
Bonaparte drained it eagerly. 

" How do you feel now ? " asked the German, 
looking at him with much sympathy. 

" A little, slightly better." 

The German went out to pick up the battered 
chimney-pot which had fallen before the door. 

" I am sorry you got the fright. The birds are 
bad things till you know them," he said sympa- 
thetically, as he put the hat down. 

" My friend," said Bonaparte, holding out his 
hand, " I forgive you; do not be disturbed. 
Whatever the consequences, I forgive you. I 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



5* 



know, I believe, it was with no ill-intent that you 
allowed me to go out. Give me your hand. I 
have no ill-feeling ; none ! " 

" You are very kind," said the German, taking 
the extended hand, and feeling suddenly con- 
vinced that he was receiving magnanimous for- 
giveness for some great injury — " you are very 
kind." 

" Don't mention it," said Bonaparte. 

He knocked out the crown of his caved-in old 
hat, placed it on the table before him, leaned his 
elbows on the table and his face in his hands, 
and contemplated it. 

"Ah, my old friend," he thus apostrophized 
the hat, "you have served me long, you have 
served me faithfully, but the last day has come. 
Never more shall you be borne upon the head 
of your master. Never more shall you protect 
his brow from the burning rays of summer or the 
cutting winds of winter. Henceforth bare-headed 
must your master go. Good-bye, good-bye, old 
hat ! " 

At the end of this affecting appeal the German 
rose. He went to the box at the foot of his bed ; 
out of it he took a black hat, which had evidently 
been seldom worn and carefully preserved. 

"It's not exactly what you may have been 
accustomed to," he said, nervously, putting it 
down beside the battered chimney-pot, " but it 
might be of some use — a protection to the head, 
you know." 

" My friend," said Bonaparte, " you are not 
following my advice; you are allowing yourself 



e 2 THE STORY OF 

to be reproached on my account. Do not make 
yourself unhappy. No ; I shall go bare-headed." 

" No, no, no ! " cried the German energetically, 
"I have no use for the hat, none at all. It is 
shut up in the box." 

" Then I will take it, my friend. It is a com- 
fort to one's own mind when you have uninten- 
tionally injured any one to make reparation. ; I 
know the feeling. The hat may not be of that 
refined cut of which the old one was, bur it will 
serve, yes, it will serve. Thank you," said Bona- 
parte, adjusting it on his head, and then replac- 
ing it on the table. " I shall lie down now and 
take a little repose," he added; " I much fear my 
appetite for supper will be lost." 

" I hope not, I hope not," said the German, 
reseating himself at his work, and looking much 
concerned as Bonaparte stretched himself on the 
bed and turned the end of the patchwork quilt 
over his feet. 

" You must not think to make your departure, 
not for many days," said the German presently. 
" Tant' Sannie gives her consent, and " 

" My friend," said Bonaparte, closing his eyes 
sadly, ' ; you are kind; but were it not that to« 
morrow is the Sabbath, weak and trembling as I 
lie here, I would proceed on my way. I must 
seek work ; idleness but for a day is painful. 
Work, labor — that is the secret of all true happi- 
ness ! " 

He doubled the pillow under his head, a^a 
watched how the German drew the leather thongs 
in and out. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



53 



After a while Lyndall silently put her book on 
the shelf and went home, and the German stood 
up and began to mix some water and meal for 
roaster-cakes. - As he stirred them with his hands 
he said, — 

- " I make always a double supply on Saturday 
night; the hands are then free as the thoughts 
for Sunday." 

" The blessed Sabbath ! " said Bonaparte. 

There was a pause. Bonaparte twisted his 
eyes without moving his head, to see if supper 
were already on the fire. 

" You must sorely miss the administration of 
the Lord's word in this desolate spot," added 
Bonaparte. " Oh, how love I Thine house, and 
the place where Thine honor dwelleth ! " 

" Well, we do ; yes," said the German ; " but 
we do our best. We meet together, and I — well, 
I say a few words, and perhaps they are not 
wholly lost, not quite." 

" Strange coincidence," said Bonaparte ; " my 
plan always was the same. Was in the Free State 
once— solitary farm — one neighbor. Every Sun- 
day I called together friend and neighbor, child 
and servant, and said, ' Rejoice with me, that we 
may serve the Lord,' and then I addressed them. 
Ah, those were blessed times," said Bonaparte ■, 
would they might return ! " 

The German stirred at the cakes, and stirred, 
and stirred, and stirred. He could give the 
stranger his bed, and he could give the stranger 
his hat, and he could give the stranger his brandy ; 
but his Sunday service ! 



54 



THE STORY OF 



After a good while he said, 

" I might speak to Tant' Minnie ; I might 
arrange ; you might take the service in my place, 
if it— _» 

" My friend," said Bonaparte, " it would give 
me the profoundest felicity, the most unbounded 
satisfaction ; but in these worn-out habiliments, 
in these deteriorated garments, it would not be 
possible, it would not be fitting that I should 
officiate in service of One, whom, for respect, 
we shall not name. No, my friend, I will remain 
here ; and, while you are assembling yourselves 
together in the presence of the Lord T I, in my 
solitude, will think of and pray for you. No ; I 
will remain here ! " 

It was a touching picture — the solitary man 
there praying for them. The German cleared 
his hands from the meal, and went to the chest 
from which he had taken the black hat. After 
a little careful feeling about, he produced a black 
cloth coat, trousers, and waistcoat, which he laid 
on the table, smiling knowingly. They were of 
new shining cloth, worn twice a year, when he 
went to the town to " nachtmaal." He looked 
with great pride at the coat as he unfolded it and 
held it up. 

" It's not the latest fashion, perhaps, not a 
West End cut, not exactly; but it might do ; it 
might serve at a push. Try it on, try it on ! " 
he said, his old gray eyes twinkling with pride. 

Bonaparte stood up and tried on the coat. It 
fitted admirably ; the waistcoat could be made to 
button by ripping up the back, and the trousers 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 55 

were perfect ; but below were the ragged boots. 
The German was not disconcerted. Going td 
the beam where a pair of top-boots hung, he took 
them off, dusted them carefully, and put them 
down before Bonaparte. The old eyes now 
fairly brimmed over with sparkling enjoyment. 

" I have only worn them once. They might 
serve ; they might be endured." 

Bonaparte drew them on and stood upright, 
his head almost touching the beams. The Ger- 
man looked at him with profound admiration. 
It was wonderful what a difference feathers made 
in the bird. 

CHAPTER V. 

SUNDAY SERVICES. 

Service No. I. 

The boy Waldo kissed the pages of his book 
and looked up. Far over the flat lay the " kopje," 
a mere speck ; the sheep wandered quietly from 
bush to bush : the stillness of the early Sunday 
rested everywhere, and the air was fresh. 

He looked down at his book. On its page 
a black insect crept. He lifted it off with his 
finger. Then he leaned on his elbow, watching 
its quivering antennae and strange movements, 
smiling. 

" Even you," he whispered, " shall not die. 
Even you He loves. Even you He will fold in 
His arms when He takes everything and makes 
it perfect and happy." 



56 THE STORY OF i v , ,■ fi 

When the thing had gone- he smoothed the 
leaves of his Bible somewhat caressingly. The 
leaves of that book had dropped blood for him 
once ; they had taken the brightness out of his 
childhood; from between them had sprung the 
visions that had clung about him and made night 
horrible. Adder-like thoughts had lifted their 
heads, had shot out forked tongues at him, ask- 
ing mockingly, strange, trivial questions that he 
could not answer, miserable child : — 

Why did the women in Mark see only one angel 
and the women in Luke two ? Could a story be 
told in opposite ways and both ways be true? 
Could it ? Could it ? Then again :- — Is there 
nothing always right, and nothing always wrong ? 
Could Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, "put her 
hand to the nail, and her right hand to the work' 
mail's hammer ? " and could the Spirit of the Lord 
chant pceans over her, loud pceans, high pceans, set 
in the book of the Lord, and no voice cry out it was 
a mean and dastardly sin to lie, and kill the trust- 
ing in their sleep ? Could the friend of God marry 
his own sister, and be. beloved, and the man who 
does it to-day goes to hell, to hell? Was there noth- 
ing always right or always wrong ? 

Those leaves had dropped blood for him once : 
they had made his heart heavy and cold ; they 
had robbed his childhood of its gladness ; now 
his fingers moved over them caressingly. 

" My father God knows, my father knows," he 
said ; " we cannot understand ; He knows." 
After a while he whispered smiling — " I heard 
your voice this morning when my eyes were not 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



57 



yet open, I felt you near me, my Father. Why 
do you love me so ? " His face was illuminated. 
" In the last four months the old question has 
gone from me. I know you are good ; I know 
you love everything ; I know, I know, I know ! 
I could not have borne it any more, not any 
more." He laughed softly. " And all the while 
I was so miserable you were looking at me and 
loving me, and I never knew- it. But I know it 
now, I feel it," said the boy, and he laughed 
low ; " I feel it ! " he laughed. 

After a while he began partly to sing, partly to 
chant the disconnected verses of hymns, those 
which spoke his gladness, many times over. The 
sheep with their senseless eyes turned to look at 
him as he sang. 

At last he lapsed into quiet. Then as the boy 
lay there staring at bush and sand, he saw a 
vision. 

He had crossed the river of Death, and walked 
on the other bank in the Lord's land of Beulah. 
-His feet sank into the dark grass, and he walked 
alone. Then, far over the fields, he saw a figure 
coming across the dark green grass. At first he 
thought it must be one of the angels , but as it 
came nearer he began to feel what it was. And 
it came closer, closer to him, and then the voice 
said, " Come," and he knew surely Who it was. 
He ran to the dear feet and touched them with 
his hands ; yes, he held them fast ! He lay down 
beside them. When he looked up the face was 
over him ; and the glorious eyes were loving him ; 
and they two were there alone together. 



58 THE STORY OF 

He laughed a deep laugh ; then started up like 
one suddenly awakened from sleep. 

" Oh, God ! " he cried, "I cannot wait ; I can- 
not wait ! I want to die ; I want to see Him ; I want 
to touch Him. Let me die ! " He folded his 
hands, trembling. " How can I wait so long — for 
long, long years perhaps ? I want to die — to see 
Him. I will die any death. Oh, let me come ! " 

Weeping he bowed himself, and quivered from 
head to foot. After a long while he lifted his 
head. 

" Yes ; I will wait ; I will wait. But not long ; 
do not let it be very long, Jesus King. I want 
you ; oh, I want you, — soon, soon ! " He sat 
still, staring across the plain with his tearful eyes. 

Service No. II. 

In the front room of the farm-house sat Tant* 
Sannie in her elbow-chair. In her hand was her 
great brass-clasped hymn-book, round her neck 
was a clean white handkerchief, under her feet 
was a wooden stove. There too sat Em and 
Lyndall, in clean pinafores and new shoes. There 
'too was the spruce Hottentot in a starched white 
" kappje," and her husband on the other side of 
the door, with his wool oiled and very much 
combed out, and staring at his new leather boots. 
The Kaffir servants were not there, because Tant' 
Sannie held they were descended from apes, and 
needed no salvation. But the rest were gathered 
for the Sunday service, and waited the officiator. 

Meanwhile Bonaparte and the German ar> 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 59 

proached arm in arm — Bonaparte resplendent in 
the black cloth clothes, a spotless shirt, and a 
spotless collar : the German in the old salt-and- 
pepper, casting shy glances of admiration at his 
companion. 

At the front door Bonaparte removed his hat 
with much dignity, raised his shirt-collar, and en- 
tered. To the center table he walked, put his 
hat solemnly down by the big Bible, and bowed 
his head over it in silent prayer. 

The Boer-woman looked at the Hottentot, and 
the Hottentot looked at the Boer-woman. 

There was one thing on earth for which Tant' 
Sannie had a profound reverence, which exercised 
a subduing influence over her, which made her 
for the time a better woman— that thing was new, 
Shining black cloth. It made her think of the 
"predikant;" it made her think of the elders, 
who sat in the top pew of the church on Sundays, 
with the hair so nicely oiled, so holy and respect- 
able, with their little swallow-tailed coats ; it 
made her think of heaven, where everything was 
so holy and respectable, and nobody wore tan- 
cord, and the littlest angel had a black tail-coat. 
'She wished she hadn't called him a thief and a 
Roman Catholic. She hoped the German hadn't 
told him. She wondered where those clothes 
were when he came in rags to her door. There 
was no doubt he was a very respectable man, a 
gentleman. 

The German began to read a hymn. At the 
end of each line Bonaparte groaned, and twice at 
the end of every verse. 



60 THE STORY OF 

The Boer-woman had often heard of persons 
groaning during prayers, to add a certain poign- 
ancy and finish to them ; old Jan Vanderlinde, 
her mother's brother, always did it after he was 
converted ; and she would have looked upon it 
as no especial sign of grace in any one ; but to 
groan at hymn-time ! She was 'startled. She 
wondered if he remembered that she shook her 
fist in his face. This was a man of God. They 
knelt down to pray. The Boer-woman weighed 
two hundred and fifty pounds, and could not 
kneel. She sat in her chair, and peeped between 
her crossed fingers at the stranger's back. She 
could not understand what he said ; but he was 
in earnest. He shook the chair by the back rail 
till it made quite a little dust on the mud floor. 

When they rose from their knees Bonaparte 
solemnly seated himself in the chair and opened 
the Bible. He blew his nose, pulled up his shirt- 
collar, smoothed the leaves, stroked down his 
capacious waistcoat, blew his nose again, looked 
solemnly round the room, then began, — 

" All liars shall have their part in the lake 
which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is 
the second death." 

Having read this portion of Scripture, Bona- 
parte paused impressively, and looked all round 
the room. 

" I shall not, my dear friends," he said, " long 
detain you. Much of our precious time has al- 
ready fled blissfully from us in the voice of thanks- 
giving and the tongue of praise. A few, a very 
few words are all I shall address to you, and may 



AN AFRICAN FARM, 6 1 

they be as a rod of iron dividing the bones from 
the marrow, and the marrow from the bones. 

" In the first place : What is a liar ? " 

The question was put so pointedly, and fol- 
lowed by a pause so profound, that even the 
Hottentot man left off looking at his boots and 
opened his eyes, though he understood not a word. 

" I repeat," said Bonaparte, " what is a liar ? " 

The sensation was intense; the attention of the 
audience was riveted. 

" Have you any of you ever seen a liar, my 
dear friends ? " There was a still longer pause. 
" I hope not ; I truly hope not. But I will tell 
you what a liar is. I knew a liar once — a little 
boy who lived in Cape Town, in Short Market 
Street. His mother and I sat together one day, 
discoursing about our souls. 

"'Here, Sampson,' said his mother, 'go and 
buy sixpence of " meiboss " from the Malay 
round the corner.' 

" When he came back she said, ' How much 
have you got ? ' 

" ' Five,' he said. 

" He was afraid if he had said six and a half 
she'd ask for some. And, my friends, that was a 
lie. The half of a ' meiboss stuck in his throat, 
and he died, and was buried. And where did the 
soul of that little liar go to, my friends ? It went 
to the lake of fire and brimstone. This brings 
me to the second point of my discourse. 

" What is a lake of fire and brimstone ? I will 
tell you, my friends," said Bonaparte condescend- 
ingly, "The imagination unaided cannot con- 



62 THE STORY OF 

ceive it : but by the help of the Lord I will put it 
before your mind's eye. 

—* c l was traveling in Italy once on a time ; 
I came to a city called Rome, a vast city and 
near it is a mountain which spits forth fire. Its 
name is Etna. Now, there was a man in that 
city of Rome who had not the fear of God before 
his eyes, and he loved a woman. The woman 
died, and he walked up that mountain spitting 
fire, and when he got to^the top he threw himself 
in at the hole that is there. The next day I went 
up. I was not afraid ; the Lord preserves His 
servants. And in their hands shall they bear 
thee up, lest at any time thou fall into a volcano. 
It was dark night when I got there, but in the fear 
of the Lord I walked to the edge of the yawning 
abyss, and looked in. That sight — that sight, 
my friends, is impressed upon my most indelible 
memory. I looked down into the lurid depths 
upon an incandescent lake, a melted fire, a seeth- 
ing sea ; the billows rolled from side to side, 
and on their fiery crests tossed the white skele- 
ton of the suicide. The heat had burnt the flesh 
from off the bones ; they lay as a light cork upon 
the melted fiery waves. One skeleton hand was 
raised upward, the finger pointing to heaven ; the 
other, with outstretched finger, pointing down- 
ward, as though it would say, ' I go below, but 
you, Bonaparte, may soar above.' I gazed ; I 
Stood entranced. At that instant there was a 
crack in the lurid lake ; it swelled, expanded, and 
the skeleton of the suicide disappeared, to be 
seen no more by mortal eye." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 63 

Here again Bonaparte rested, and then con- 
tinued — 

" The lake of melted stone rose in the crater, 
it swelled higher and higher at the side, it 
streamed forth at the top. I had presence of 
mind ; near me was a rock ; I stood upon it. 
The fiery torrent was vomited out, and streamed 
on either side of me. And through that long and 
terrible night I stood there alone upon that rock, 
the glowing fiery lava on every hand — a monu- 
ment of the long-suffering and tender providence 
of the Lord, who spared me that I might this day 
testify in your ears of Him. 

" Now, my clear friends, let us deduce the les- 
sons that are to be learnt from this narrative. 

"Firstly: let us never commit suicide. That 
man is a fool, my friends, that man is insane, my 
friends, who would leave this earth, my friends. 
Here are joys innumerable, such as it hath not 
entered into the heart of man to understand, my 
friends. Here are clothes, my friends ; here are 
beds, my friends : here is delicious food, my 
friends. Our precious bodies were given us to 
love, to cherish. Oh, let us do so ! Oh, let us 
never hurt them ; but care for and love them, my 
friends ! " 

Every one was impressed, and Bonaparte pro- 
ceeded — 

" Thirdly : let us not love too much. If that 
young man had not loved that young woman, he 
would not have jumped into Mount Etna. The 
good men of old never did so, Was Jeremiah 
ever in love, or Ezekiel, or Hosea, or even any of 



64 THE STORY OF 

the minor prophets ? No. Then why should we 
be ? Thousands are rolling in that lake at this 
moment who would say, { It was love that brought 
us here.' Oh, let us think always of our own 
souls first.* 

" ' A charge to keep I have, 
A God to glorify ; 
A never-dying soul to save, 
And fit it for the sky.' 

" Oh, beloved friends, remember the little boy 
.and the ' meiboss ; ' remember the young girl and 
the young man ; remember the lake, the fire, and 
the brimstone ; remember the suicide's skeleton 
on the pitchy billows of Mount Etna ; remember 
the voice of warning that has this day sounded 
in your ears ; and what I say to you I say to all 
— watch ! May the Lord add His blessing ! " 

Here the Bible closed with a tremendous thud. 
Tant' Sannie loosened the white handkerchief 
about her neck and wiped her eyes, and the col- 
ored girl, seeing her do so, sniffled. They did not 
understand the discourse, which made it the more 
affecting. There hung over it that inscrutable 
charm which hovers forever for the human intel- 
lect over the incomprehensible and shadowy. 
When the last hymn was sung the German con- 
ducted the officiator to Tant' Sannie, who gra- 
ciously extended her hand, and offered coffee and 
a seat on the sofa. Leaving him there, the Ger- 
man hurried away to see how the little plum-pud- 
ding he had left at home was advancing ; and 
Tant' Sannie remarked that it was a hot day. 
Bonaparte gathered her meaning as she fanned 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 65 

herself with the end of her apron. He bowed 
low in acquiescence. A long silence followed. 
Tant' Sannie spoke again. Bonaparte gave 
her no ear; his eye was fixed on a small minia- 
ture on the opposite wall, which represented 
Tant' Sannie as she had appeared on the day 
before her confirmation, fifteen years before, 
attired in green muslin. Suddenly he started 
to his feet, walked up to the picture, and took 
his stand before it. Long and wistfully he 
gazed into its features; it was easy to see 
that he was deeply moved. With a sudden 
movement, as though no longer able to re- 
strain himself, he seized the picture, loosened 
it from its nail, and held it close to his eyes. 
At length, turning to the Boer-woman, he said, 
in a voice of deep emotion: — 

"You will, I trust, dear madam, excuse this 
exhibition of my feelings; but this — this little 
picture recalls to me my first and best beloved, 
my dear departed wife, who is now a saint in 
heaven/' 

Tant* Sannie could not understand; but the 
Hottentot maid, who had taken her seat on the 
floor beside her mistress, translated the 
English into Dutch as far as she was able. 

"Ah, my first, my beloved!" he added, look- 
ing tenderly down at the picture. "Oh , the be- 
loved, the beautiful lineaments! My angel 
wife ! This is surely a sister of yours, madam?" 
he added, fixing his eyes on Tant' Sannie. 

The Dutchwoman blushed, shook her head, 
and pointed to herself. 

Carefully, intently, Bonaparte looked from 

5 



66 THE STORY OF 

the picture in his hand to Tant* Sannie feat- 
ures, and from the features back to the 
picture. Then slowly a light broke over his 
countenance; he looked up, it became a smile; 
he looked back at the miniature, his whole 
countenance was effulgent. 

"Ah, yes; I see it now," he cried, turning his 
delighted gaze on to the Boer-woman; "eyes, 
mouth, nose, chin, the very expression!" he 
cried. "How is it possible I did not notice it 
before?" 

"Take another cup of coffee," said Tant* 
Sannie; "Put some sugar in." 

Bonaparte hung the picture tenderly up, and 
was turning to take the cup from her hand, 
when the German appeared, to say that the 
pudding was ready and the meat on the table. 

"He's a God-fearing man, and one who 
knows how to behave himself," said the Boer- 
woman as he went out at the door. "If he is 
ugly, did not the Lord make him? And are 
we to laugh at the Lord's handiwork? It is 
better to be ugly and good than pretty and 
bad; though, of course, it's nice when one is 
both," said Tant' Sannie, looking complac- 
ently at the picture on the wall. 

In the afternoon the German and Bonaparte 
sat before the door of the cabin. Both smoked 
in complete silence — Bonaparte with a book in 
his hands and his eyes half closed; the Ger- 
man puffing vigorously, and glancing up now 
and again at the serene blue sky overhead. 

"Supposing — you — you, in fact, made the 
remark to me," burst forth the German sud- 
denly, "that youwere looking for a situation." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 67 

Bonaparte opened his mouth wide, and sent a 
Stream of smoke through his lips. 

" Now supposing," said the German, — " merely 
supposing, of course, — that some one, some one 
in fact, should make an offer to you, say, to be- 
come schoolmaster on their farm and teach two 
children, two little girls, perhaps, and would give 
you forty pounds a year, would you accept it ?— 
Just supposing, of course." 

" Well, my dear friend," said Bonaparte, " that 
would depend on circumstances. Money is no 
consideration with me. For my wife I have made 
provision for the next year. My health is 
broken. Could I meet a place where a gentle- 
man would be treated as a gentleman I would 
accept it, however small the remuneration. With 
me," said Bonaparte, " money is no considera- 
tion." 

" Well," said the German, when he had taken 
a whiff or two more from his pipe, " I think I 
shall go up and see Tant' Sannie a little. I go 
up often on Sunday afternoon to have a general 
conversation, to see her, you know. Nothings 
nothing particular, you know." 

The old man put his book into his pocket, and 
walked up to the farm-house with a peculiarly 
knowing and delighted expression of counte- 
nance. 

" He doesn't suspect what I'm going to do," 
soliloquized the German : " hasn't the least idea. 
A nice surprise for him." 

The man whom he had left at his doorway 
winked at the retreating figure with a wink that 
was not to be described. 



68 THE STORY OF 

CHAPTER VL 

BONAPARTE BLENKINS MAKES HIS NEST. 

"Ah, what is the matter?" asked Waldo, 
stopping at the foot of the ladder with a load of 
skins on his back that he was carrying up to the 
loft. Through the open door in the gable little 
Em was visible, her feet dangling from the high- 
bench on which she sat. The room, once a store- 
room, had been divided by a row of " mealie " 
bags into two parts— the back being Bonaparte's 
bedroom, the front his school-room. 

" Lyndall made him angry," said the girl, tear- 
fully ; " and he has given me the fourteenth of 
John to learn. He says he will teach me to be- 
have myself, when Lyndall troubles him." 

" What did she do ? " asked the boy. 

" You see," said Em, hopelessly turning the 
leaves, " whenever he talks she looks out at the 
door, as though she did not hear him. To-day 
she asked him what the signs of the Zodiac were, 
and he said he was surprised that she should ask 
him ; it was not a fit and .proper thing for little 
girls to talk about. Then she asked him who 
Copernicus was ; and he said he was one of the 
Emperors of Rome, who- burned the Christians 
in a golden pig, and the worms ate him up while 
he was still alive. I don't know why," said Em 
plaintively, " but she just put her books under 
her arm and walked out ; and she will never come 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 69 

to his school again, she says, and she always 
does what she says. And now I must sit here 
every day alone," said Em, the great tears drop- 
ping softly. 

" Perhaps Taut' Sannie will send him away," 
said the boy, in his mumbling way, trying to 
comfort her. 

" No," said Em, shaking her head ; " no. 
Last night when the little Hottentot maid was 
washing her feet, he told her he liked such feet, 
and that fat women were so nice to him ; and 
she said I must always put him pure cream in his 
coffee now. No ; he'll never go away," said Em, 
dolorously. 

The boy put down his skins and fumbled in 
his pocket, and produced a small piece of paper 
containing something. He stuck it out toward 
her. 

"There, take it for you," he said. This was 
by way of comfort. 

Em opened it and found a small bit of gum, a 
commodity prized by the children ; but the great 
tears dropped down slowly on to it. 

Waldo was distressed. He had cried so much 
in his morsel of life that tears in another seemed 
to burn him. 

" If," he said, stepping in awkwardly and stand- 
ing by the table, " if you will not cry I will tell 
you something — a secret." 

" What is that ? " asked Em, instantly becom* 
ing decidedly better. 

" You will tell it to no human being ? " 

44 No." 



7 THE STORY OF 

He bent nearer to her, and with deep solem- 
nity said — 

" / have made a machine I " 

Em opened her eyes. 

" Yes ; a machine for shearing sheep. It is 
almost done," said the boy. " There is only one 
thing that is not right yet ; but it will be soon. 
When you think, and think, and think, all night 
and all day, it comes at last," he added myste- 
riously. 

" Where is it ? " 

' ; Here ! I always carry it here," said the boy, 
putting his hand to his breast, where a bulging- 
out was visible. " This is a model. When it is 
dene they will have to make a large one." 

" Show it me." 

The boy shook his head. 

" No, not till it is done. I cannot let any 
human being see it till then." 

" It is a beautiful secret," said Em ; and the 
boy shuffled out to pick up his skins. 

That evening father and son sat in the cabin 
eating their supper. The father sighed deeply 
sometimes. Perhaps he thought how long a time 
it was since Bonaparte had visited the cabin ; but 
his son was in that land in which sighs have no 
part. It is a question whether it were not better 
to be the shabbiest of fools, and know the way 
up the little stair of imagination to the land of 
dreams, than the wisest of men, who see nothing 
that the eyes do not show, and feel nothing that 
the hands do not touch. The boy chewed his 
brown bread and drank his coffee ; but in truth 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 71 

he saw only his machine finished — that last some- 
thing found out and added. He saw it as it 
worked with beautiful smoothness ; and over 
and above, as he chewed his bread and drank 
his coffee, there was that delightful consciousness 
of something bending over him and loving him. 
It would not have been better in one of the 
courts of heaven, where the walls are set with 
rows of the King of Glory's amethysts and milk- 
white pearls, than there, eating his supper in that 
little room. 

As they sat in silence there was a knock at the 
door. When it was opened the small woolly head 
of a little nigger showed itself. She was a messen- 
ger from Tant' Sannie : the German was wanted at 
once at the homestead. Putting on his hat with 
both hands, he hurried off. The kitchen was in 
darkness, but in the pantry beyond Tant' Sannie 
and her maids were assembled. 

A Kaffir girl, who had been grinding pepper 
between two stones, knelt on the floor, the lean 
Hottentot stood with a brass candlestick in her 
hand, and Tant' Sannie, near the shelf, with a 
hand on each hip, was evidently listening intently, 
as were her companions. 

" What may it be ? " cried the old German in 
astonishment. 

The room beyond the pantry was the store- 
room. Through the thin wooden partition there 
arose at that instant, evidently from some creature 
ensconced there, a prolonged and prodigious howl, 
followed by a succession of violent blows against 
the partition wall. 



y 2 THE STORY OF 

The German seized the churn-stick, and was 
about to rush round the house, when the Boer- 
woman impressively laid her hand upon his arm. 

" That is his head," said Tant' Sannie, " that 
is his head." 

" But what might it be ? " asked the German, 
looking from one to the other, churn-stick in 
hand. 

A low hollow bellow prevented reply, and the 
voice of Bonaparte lifted itself on high. 

" Mary- Ann ! my angel ! my wife ! " 
" " Isn't it dreadful ? " said Tant' Sannie, as the 
blows were repeated fiercely. " He has got a 
letter : his wife is dead. You must go and com- 
fort him," said Tant' Sannie at last, " and I will 
go with you. It would not be the thing for me 
to go alone — me; who am only thirty-three, and 
he an unmarried man now," said Tant' Sannie, 
blushing and smoothing out her apron. 

Upon this they all trudged round the house in 
company — the Hottentot maid carrying the light, 
Tant' Sannie and the German following, and the 
Kaffir girl bringing up the rear. 

" Oh," said Tant' Sannie, " I see now it wasn't 
wickedness made him do without his wife so long 
— only necessity." 

At the door she motioned to the German to 
enter, and- followed him closely. On the stretch- 
er behind the sacks Bonaparte lay on his face, 
his head pressed into a pillow, his legs kicking 
gently. The Boer- worn an sat down on a box at 
the foot of the bed. The German stood with 
folded hands looking on. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 73 

cl We must all die," said Tant' Sannie at last ; 
" it is the dear Lord's will." 

Hearing her voice, Bonaparte turned himself 
on to his back. 

" It's very hard," said Tant' Sannie, " I know, 
for I've lost two husbands." 

Bonaparte looked up into the German's face. 

" Oh, what does she say ? Speak to me words 
of comfort ! " 

The German repeated Tant' Sannie's remark. 

" Ah I — I also ! Two dear, dear wives, whom 
I shall never see any more ! " cried Bonaparte, 
flinging himself back upon the bed. 

He howled, till the tarantulas, who lived be- 
tween the rafters and the zinc roof, felt the un- 
usual vibration, and looked out with their wicked 
bright eyes, to see what was going on. 

Tant' Sannie sighed, the Hottentot maid 
sighed, the Kaffir girl who looked in at the door 
put her hand over her mouth and said, " Mow — 
wah ! " 

"You must trust in the Lord," said Tant* 
Sannie. " He can give you more than you have . 
lost." 

"I do, I do ! " he cried ; " but oh, I have no 
wife ! I have no wife ! " 

Tant' Sannie was much affected, and came and 
stood near the bed. 

' ' Ask him if he won't have a little pap — nice, 
fine, flour pap. There is some boiling on the 
kitchen fire." 

The German made the proposal, but the wid- 
ower waved his hand. . 



74 



THE STORY OF 



" No, nothing shall pass my lips. I should be 
suffocated. No, no ! Speak not of food to 
me !" 

u Pap, and a little brandy in," said Tanf 
Sannie coaxingly. 

Bonaparte caught the word. 

" Perhaps, perhaps — if I struggled with myself 
— for the sake of my duties I might imbibe a few 
drops," he said, looking with quivering lip up 
into the German's face. " I must do my duty, 
must 1 not ? " 

Tant' Sannie gave the order, and the girl went 
for the pap. < 

" I know how it was when my first husband 
died. They could do nothing with me," the 
Boer-woman said, " till I had eaten a sheep's 
trotter, and honey, and a little roaster-cake. / 
know." 

Bonaparte sat up on the bed with his legs 
stretched out in front of him, and a hand on each 
knee, blubbering softly. 

" Oh, she was a woman ! You are very kind 

f4:o try and comfort me, but she was my wife. 

For a woman that is my wife I could live ; for a 

woman that is my wife I could die ! For a 

woman that is my wife I could Ah ! that 

sweet word wife ; when will it rest upon my lips 
again ? " 

When his feelings had subsided a little he 
raised the corners of his turned-down mouth, and 
spoke to the German with flabby lips. 

" Do you think she understands me ? Oh, tell 
her every word, that she may kccw I thaM J ?^ r " 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



75 



At that instant the girl reappeared with a basin 
Of steaming gruel and a black bottle. 

Tant' Sannie poured some 'of its contents into 
the basin, stirred it well, and came to the bed. 

" Oh, I can't, I can't ! I shall die ! I shall 
die ! " said Bonaparte, putting his hands to his 
side. 

" Come, just a little," said Tant' Sannie coax- 
ingly; "just a drop." 

" It's too thick, it's too thick. I should choke." 

Tant' Sannie added from the contents of the 
bottle and held out a spoonful ; Bonaparte opened 
his mouth like a little bird waiting for a worm, 
and held it open, as she dipped again and again 
into the pap. 

" Ah, this will do your heart good," said Tant' 
Sannie, in whose mind the relative functions of 
heart and stomach were exceedingly ill-defined. 

When the basin was emptied the violence of 
his grief was much assuaged ; he looked at Tant' 
Sannie with gentle tears. ' 

" Tell him," said the Boer-woman, " that I hope 
he will sleep well, and that the Lord will comfort 
him, as the Lord only can." 

" Bless you, dear friend, God bless you," said 
Bonaparte. 

When the door was safely shut on the German, 
the Hottentot, and the Dutch-woman, he got off 
the bed and washed away the soap he had rubbed 
on his eyelids. 

" Bon," he said, slapping his leg, " you're the 
'cutest lad I ever came across. If you don't turn 
out the old Hymns-and-prayers, and pummel the 



76 THE STORY OF 

Ragged-coat, and get your arms round the fat 
one's waist and a wedding-ring on her finger, 
then you are not Bonaparte. But you are Bona- 
parte. Bon, you're a fine boy ! " 

Making which pleasing reflection, he pulled off 
his trousers and got into bed cheerfully. 



CHAPTER VII. 

HE SETS HIS TRAP. 

" May I come in ? I hope I do not disturb you, 
my dear friend," said Bonaparte, late one even- 
ing, putting his nose in at the cabin door, where 
the German and his son sat finishing their 
supper. 

It was now two months since he had been in- 
stalled as schoolmaster in Tant' Sannie's house- 
hold, and he had grown mighty and more 
mighty day by day. He visited the cabin no 
more, sat close to Tant' Sannie drinking coffee 
all the evening, and walked about loftily with his 
hands under the coat-tails of the German's black, 
cloth, and failed to see even a nigger who wished 
him a deferential good-morning. It was there- 
fore with no small surprise that the German per- 
ceived Bonaparte's red nose at his door. 

" Walk in, walk in," he said joyfully. " Boy, 
boy, see if there is coffee left. Well, none. Make 
a fire. We have done supper, but " 

" My dear friend," said Bonaparte, taking off 
his hat, " I came not to sup, not for mere creat 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 77 

ure comforts, but for an hour of brotherly inter- 
course with a kindred spirit. The press of busi- 
ness and the weight of thought, but they alone, 
may sometimes prevent me from sharing the 
secrets of my bosom with him for whom I have 
so great a sympathy. You perhaps wonder when 

I shall return the two pounds " 

" Oh, no, no ! Make a fire, make a fire, boy. 
We will have a pot of hot coffee presently," said 
the German, rubbing his hands and looking 
about, not knowing how best to show his pleas- 
ure at the unexpected visit. 

For three weeks the German's diffident " Good- 
evening" had met with a stately bow; the chin 
of Bonaparte lifting itself higher daily; and his 
shadow had not darkened the cabin doorway 
since he came to borrow the two pounds. The 
German walked to the head of the bed and took 
down a blue bag that hung there. Blue bags 
were a speciality of the German's. He kept 
about fifty stowed away in different corners of his 
room— some filled with curious stones, some with 
seeds that had been in his possession fifteen 
vears, some with rusty nails, buckles, and bits ot 
bid harness— in all, a wonderful assortment, but 
highly prized. „ . , 

" We have something here not so bad, said 
the German, smiling knowingly, as he dived his 
hand into the bag and took out a handful of al- 
monds and raisins; "I buy these for my chick- 
ens. They increase in size, but they still think 
the old man must have something nice for them. 
And the old man— well, a big boy may have a 



78 THE STORY OF 

sweet tooth sometimes, may he not ? Ha, ha ! ,r 
said the German, chuckling at his own joke, as 
he heaped the plate with almonds. " Here is a 
stone — two stones to crack them — no late patent 
improvement — well, Adam's nut-cracker ; ha, ha ! 
But I think we shall do. We will not leave them 
uncracked. We will consume a few without 
fashionable improvements." 

Here the German sat down on one side of the 
table, Bonaparte on the other ; each one with a 
couple of flat stones before him, and the plate 
between them. 

" Do not be afraid," said the German, " do not 
be afraid. I do not forget the boy at the fire ; I 
crack for him. The bag is full. Why, this is 
strange," he said, suddenly, cracking open a large 
nut ; ^ three kernels ! I have not observed that 
before. This must be retained. This is valu- 
able." He wrapped the nut gravely in paper, 
and put it carefully in his waistcoat pocket. 
" Valuable, very valuable ! " he said, shaking his 
head. 

" Ah, my friend," said Bonaparte, " what joy it 
is to be once more in your society." 

The German's eye glistened, and Bonaparte 
seized his hand and squeezed it warmly. They 
then proceeded to crack and eat. After a while 
Bonaparte said, stuffing a handful of raisins into 
his mouth, — 

" I was so deeply grieved, my dear friend, that 
you and Tant' Sannie had some slight unpleasant- 
ness this evening." 

"Oh, no, no," said the German ; " it is all right 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 79 

now. A few sheep missing; but I make it good' 
myself. I give my twelve sheep, and work in the 
other eight." 

" It is rather hard that you should have to 
make good the lost sheep," said Bonaparte ; " it 
is no fault of yours." 

''Well," said the German, "this is the case. 
Last evening I count the sheep at the kraal — 
twenty are missing. I ask the herd ; he tells me 
they are with the other flock ; he tells me so dis- 
tinctly; how can I think he lies ? This afternoon 
I count the other flock. The sheep are not there. 
I come back here : the herd is gone ; the sheep 
are gone. But I cannot — no, I will not—believe 
he stole them," said the German, growing sud- 
denly excited. " Some one else, but not he. I 
know that boy ; I knew him three years. He is 
a good boy. I have seen him deeply affected on 
account of his soul. And she would send the 
police after him ! I say I would rather make th< 
loss good myself. I will not have it ; he has fled 
in fear.. I know his heart. It was," said the 
German, with a little gentle hesitation, " under 
my words that he first felt his need of a Sav-, 
iour." 

Bonaparte cracked some more almonds, then 
said, yawning, and more as though he asked for 
the sake of having something to converse about 
than from any interest he felt in the subject, — 

" And what has become of the herd's wife ? " 

The German was alight again in a moment. 

" Yes ; his wife. She has a child six days old, 
and Tant' Sannie w^uld turn her out into the 



So THE STORY OF " 

fields this night. That," said the German, rising, 
" that is what I call cruelty — diabolical cruelty. 
My soul abhors that deed. The man that could 
do such a thing I could run him through with a 
knife ! " said the German, his gray eyes flashing, 
and his bushy black beard adding to the murder- 
ous fury of his aspect. Then suddenly subsiding, 
he said, — " But all is now well ; Tant' Sannie 
gives her word that the maid shall remain for 
some days. I go to Oom Muller's to-morrow to 
learn if the sheep may not be there. If they are 
not, then I return. They are gone ; that is all. 
I make it good." 

" Tant' Sannie is a singular woman," said 
Bonaparte, taking the tobacco-bag the German 
passed to him. 

" Singular ! Yes," said the German ; " but her 
heart is on her right side. I have lived long 
years with her, and I may say, I have for her an 
affection, which she returns. I may say," added 
the German, with warmth, " I may say, that there 
is not one soul on this farm for whom I have not 
an affection." 

" Ah, my friend," said Bonaparte, " when the 
grace of God is in our hearts, is it not so with us 
all? Do we not love the very worm we tread 
upon, and as we tread upon it ? Do we know 
distinctions of race, or of sex, or of color ? No / 

" ' Love so amazing, so divine, 
It fills my soul, my life, my all.' " 

After a time he sank into a less fervent mood, 
and remarked, — 
0*The colored female who waits upon Tanf 



AN AFRICAN FARM. gj 

Sannie appears to be of a virtuous disposition, 
an individual who -" *"" 

" Virtuous ! " said the German ; " I have con- 
fidence in her. There is that in her which is 
pure, that which is noble. The rich and high 
that walk this earth with lofty eyelids might ex-, 
change with her." s^~ 

The German here got up to bring a coal for 
Bonaparte's pipe, and they sat together talking 
for a while. At length Bonaparte knocked the 
ashes out of his pipe. 

"It is time that I took my departure, dear 
friend," he said ; "but, before I do so, shall we 
not close this evening of sweet communion and 
brotherly intercourse by a few words of prayer? 
Oh, how good and how pleasant a thing it is for 
brethren to dwell together in unity ! It is like 
the dew upon the mountains of Hermon ; for 
there the Lord bestowed a blessing, even life for 
evermore." 

" Stay and drink some coffee," said the Ger- 
man. 

" No, thank you, my friend ; I have business 
that must be done to-night," said Bonaparte. 
" Your dear son appears to have gone to sleep. 
He is going to take the wagon to the mill to- 
morrow ! What a little man he is." 

" A fine boy." 

But though the boy nodded before the fire-ne 
was not asleep ; and they all knelt down to pray. 

When they rose from their knees Bonaparte 
extended his hand to Waldo, and patted him on 
the head. 
6 



82 THE STORY 0J< 

" Good-night, my lad," he said. " As you go 
to the mill to-morrow, we shall not see you for 
some days. Good-night ! Good-bye ! The Lord 
bless and guide you : and may He bring you back 
to us in safety to find us all as you have left us /" 
He laid some emphasis on the last words. " And 
you, my dear friend," he added, turning with re- 
doubled warmth to the German, " long, long shall 
I look back to this evening as a time of refresh- 
ing from the presence of the Lord, as an hour of 
blessed intercourse with a brother in Jesus. May 
such often return. The Lord bless you ! " he 
added, with yet deeper fervor, " richly, richly." 

Then he opened the door and vanished out 
into the darkness. 

" He, he, he ! " laughed Bonaparte, as he 
stumbled over the stones. " If there isn't the 
rarest lot of fools on this farm that ever God 
Almighty stuck legs to. He, he, he ! When the 
worms come out then the blackbirds feed. Ha, 
ha, ha ! " Then he drew himself up : even when 
alone he liked to pose with a certain dignity ; it 
was second nature to him. 

He looked in at the kitchen door. The Hot- 
tentot maid who acted as interpreter between 
Tant' Sannie and himself was gone, and Tant* 
Sannie herself was in bed. 

" Never mind, Bon, my boy," he said, as he 
walked round to his own room, " to-morrow will 
da He t he,iiei" 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 83 

CHAPTER VIIL 

HE CATCHES THE OLD BIRD. 

At four o'clock the next afternoon the German 
rode across the plain, returning from his search 
for the lost sheep. He rode slowly, for he had 
been in the saddle since sunrise and was some- 
what weary, and the heat of the afternoon made 
his horse sleepy as it picked its way slowly along 
the sandy road. Every now and then a great red 
spider would start out of the karroo on one side 
of the path and run across to the other, but noth- 
ing else broke the still monotony. Presently, 
behind one of the highest of the milk-bushes that 
dotted the roadside, the German caught sight of 
a Kaffir woman, seated there evidently for such 
shadow as the milk-bush might afford from the 
sloping rays of the sun. The German turned the 
horse's head out of the road. It was not his way 
to pass a living creature without a word of greet- 
ing. Coming nearer, he found it was no other 
than the wife of the absconding Kaffir herd. She 
had a baby tied on her back by a dirty strip of 
red blanket; another strip hardly larger was 
twisted round her waist ; for the rest her black 
body was naked. She was a sullen, ill-looking 
woman, with lips hideously protruding. 

The German questioned her as to how she 
came there. She muttered in broken Dutch that 
she had been turned away. Had she done evil } 
m 



84 THE STORY OF 

She shook her head sullenly. Had she had tood 
given her ? She grunted a negative, and fanned 
the flies from her baby. Telling the. woman to 
remain where she was, he turned his horse's head 
to the road and' rode off at a furious pace. r 

" Hard-hearted ! cruel ! Oh, my God ! Is this 
the way ? Is this charity ? " 

" Yes, yes, yes," ejaculated the old man as he 
rode on ; but, presently, his anger began to evap- 
orate, his horse's pace slackened, and by the time 
h : had reached his own door he was nodding and 
smiling. 

Dismounting quickly, he went to the great chest 
wher his provisions were kept. Here he got out 
a litt* 3 meal, a little mealies, a few roaster-cakes. 
These he tied up in three blue handkerchiefs, 
and putting them into a sail-cloth bag, he strung 
them over his shoulders. Then he looked cir- 
cumspectly out at the door. It was very bad to 
be discovered in the act of giving ; it made him 
red up to th^ roots of his old grizzled hair. No 
one was about, however, so he rode off again. 
Beside the milk-bush sat the Kaffir woman still — 
like Hagar, he thought, thrust out by her mistress 
in the wilderness to die. Telling her to loosen 
the handkerchief from her head, he poured into 
it the contents of his bag. The woman tied it 
up in sullen silence. 

" You must try and get to the next farm," said 
the German. 

The woman shook her head ; she would sleep 
in the field. 

The German reflected. Kaffir women were 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 85 

accustomed to sleep in the open air ; but then, 
the child was small, and after so hot a day the 
night might be chilly. That she would creep 
back to the huts at the homestead when the 
darkness favored her, the German's sagacity did 
not make evident to him. He took off the old 
brown salt-and-pepper coat, and held it out to her 
The woman received it in silence and laid it 
across her knee. . " With that they will sleep 
warmly ; not so bad. Ha, ha ! " said the German. 
And he rode home, nodding his head in a manner 
that would have made any other man dizzy. 

"I wish he would not come back to-night," 
said Em, her face wet with tears. 

" It will be just the same if he comes back to- 
morrow," said Lyndall. 

The two girls sat on the step of the cabin wait- 
ing for the German's return. Lyndall shaded her 
eyes with her hand from the sunset light. 

" There he comes," she said, " whistling ' Ach 
Jerusalem du schone ' so loud I can hear him 
here." 

" Perhaps he has found the sheep." 
" Found them ! " said Lyndall. " He would 
whistle just so if he knew he had to die to- 
night." 

" You look at the sunset, eh, chickens ? " the 
German said, as he came up at a smart canter. 
" Ah, yes, that is beautiful ! " he added, as he 
dismounted, pausing for a moment with his hand 
on the saddle to look at the evening sky, where 
the sun shot up long naming streaks, between 
which and the sye thin yellow clouds floated. 



86 THE STOR Y OF 

u Ei ! you weep ? " said the German, as the girls 
ran up to him. 

Before they had time to reply the voice of Tant' 
Sannie was heard. 

" You child, of the child, of the child of a 
Kaffir's dog, come here ! " 

The German looked up. He thought the 
Dutch-woman, come out to cool herself in the 
yard, called to some misbehaving servant. The 
old man looked round to see who it might be. 

" You old vagabond of a praying German, are 
you deaf ? " 

Tant' Sannie stood before the steps of the 
kitchen ; upon them sat the lean Hottentot, upon 
the highest stood Bonaparte Blenkins, both hands 
folded under the tails of his coat, and his eyes 
fixed on the sunset sky. 

The German dropped the saddle on the 
ground. 

" Bish, bish, bish ! what may this be ? " he 
said, and walked toward the house. " Very 
strange ! " 

The girls followed him : Em still weeping ; 
Lyndall with her face rather white and her eyes 
wide open. 

" And I have the heart of a devil, did you say ? 
You could run me through with a knife, could 
you?" cried the Dutch-woman. "I could not 
drive the Kaffir maid away because I was afraid 
of you, was I ? Oh, you miserable rag ! I loved 
you, did I? I would have liked to marry you, 
would I ? would I ? would I ? " cried the Boer- 
woman ; " you cat's tail, you dog's paw ! Be near 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 87 

my house to-morrow morning when the sun rises/' 
she gasped, " my Kaffirs will drag you through 
the sand. Thpy-jaoiilrl Hn it gig/11 y. an y of them , 
for a bit of tobacco, for all your prayings with 

them." — 

■ — " 1 am" bewildered, I am bewildered," said the 
German, standing before her and raising his hand 
to his forehead ; " I — I do not understand." 

" Ask him, ask him ! " cried Tant' Sannie, 
pointing to Bonaparte ; " he knows. You thought 
he could not make me understand, but he did, he 
did, you old fool ) I know enough English for 
that. You be here,-"' shcuted the Dutch-woman, 
"when the morning star rises, «ind I will let my 
Kaffirs take you out and drag you, u}\ ikere is 
not one bone left in your old body that is not 
broken as fine as babootie-meat, you old beggar ! 
All your rags are not worth that they should be 
thrown out on to the ash-heap," cried the Boer- 
woman ; "but I will have them for my sheep. 
Not one rotten hoof of your old mare do you take 
with you ; I will have her — all, all for my sheep 
that you have lost, you godless thing ! " 

* The Boer-woman wiped the moisture from her 
mouth with the palm of her hand. 

The German turned to Bonaparte, who still 
stood on the step absorbed in the beauty of the 
sunset. 

" Do not address me ; do not approach me, 
lost man," said Bonaparte, not moving his eye 
nor lowering his chin. " There is a crime from 
which all nature revolts ; there is a crime whose 
name is loathsome to the human ear — that crime 



88 THE STORY OF 

is yours ; that crime is ingratitude. This woman 
'has been your benefactress ; on her farm you 
have lived ; after her sheep you have looked ; into 
her house you have been allowed to enter and 
hold Divine service — an honor of which you were 
never worthy ; and how have you rewarded her ? 
— Basely, basely, basely ! " 

" But it is all false, lies and falsehoods. I must, 
I will speak," said the German, suddenly looking 
round bewildered. " Do I dream ? Are you 
mad ? What may it be ? " 

" Go, dog," cried the Dutch-woman ; " I would 
have been a rich woman this day if it had not 
been for your laziness. Praying with the Kaffirs 
behind the kraal walls ! Go, you Kaffir's dog ! " 

" But what then is the matter ? What may 
have happened since I left ? " said the German, 
turning to the Hottentot woman who sat upon 
the step. 

She was his friend ; she would tell him kindly 
the truth. The woman answered by a loud, ring- 
ing laugh. 

" Give it him, old missis ! Give it him ! " 

It was so nice to see the white man who had 
been master hunted down. The colored woman 
laughed, and threw a dozen mealie grains into 
her mouth to chew. 

All anger and excitement faded from the old 
man's face. He turned slowly away and walked 
down the little path to his cabin, with his shoulders 
bent ; it was all dark before him. He stumbled 
over the threshold of his own well-known door. 

Em ? sobbing bitterly, would have followed him; 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 89 

but the Boer-woman prevented her by a flood of 
speech which convulsed the Hottentot, so low 
were : +s images. 

" Come, Em," said Lyndall, lifting her small, 
proud head, " let us go in. We will not stay to 
hear such language." 

She looked in to the Boer-woman's eyes. Tant* 
Sannie understood the meaning of the look if not 
the words. She waddled after them, and caught 
Em by the arm. She had struck Lyndall once 
years before, and had never done it again, so she 
took Em. <^. 

** * : So you will defy me too, will you, you English-^^N 
man's ugliness ! " she cried, as with one hand / 
she forced the child down, and held her head / 
tightly against her knee : with the other she beat / 
L^her first upon one cheek, and then upon the / 
other. 

For one instant Lyndall looked on, then she 
laid her small fingers on the Boer-woman's arm. 
With the exertion of half its strength Tant' 
Sannie might have flung the girl back upon the 
stones. It was not the power of the slight fingers, 
tightly though they clinched her broad wrist^-so 
tightly that at bed-time the marks were still there 
but the Boer-woman looked into the clear eyes 
and at the quivering white lips, and with a half- 
surprised curse, relaxed her hold. The girl drew 
Em's arm through her own. 

" Move ! " she said to Bonaparte, who stood 
in the door ; and he, Bonaparte the invincible, in 
the hour of his triumph, moved to give her 
place. 



90 THE STORY OP 

The Hottentot ceased to laugh, and an uncom- 
fortable silence fell on all the three in the door< 
way. 

Once in their room, Em sat down on the floof 
and wailed bitterly. Lyndall lay on the bed with 
her arm drawn across her eye's, very white and still. 

" Hoo, hoo ! " cried Em ; " and they won't let 
him take the gray mare ; and Waldo has gone to 
the mill. Hoo, hoo! And perhaps they won't 
let us go and say good-bye to him. Hoo, hoo, 
hoo ! " 

" I wish you would be quiet," said Lyndall, 
without moving. " Does it give you such felicity 
to let Bonaparte know he is hurting yon ? We 
will ask no one. It will be supper time soon. 
Listen, — and when you hear the chink of the 
knives and forks we will go out and see him." 

Em suppressed her sobs and listened intently, 
kneeling at the door. Suddenly some one came 
to the window and put the shutter up. 

" Who was that ? " said Lyndall, starting. 

" The girl, I suppose," said Em. " How early 
she is this evening ! " 

But Lyndall sprang from the bed and seized 
the handle of the door, shaking it fiercely. The 
door was locked on the outside. She ground her 
teeth. 

" What is the matter ? " asked Em. 

The room was in perfect darkness now. 

''Nothing," said Lyndall, quietly, " only they 
have locked us in." 

She turned, and went back to bed again. But 
ere long Em heard a sound of movement. Lyn- 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 9 1 

dall had climbed up into the window, and with 
her fingers felt the woodwork that surrounded 
the panes. Slipping down, the girl loosened the 
iron knob from the foot of the bedstead, and 
climbing up again, she broke with it every pane 
of glass in the window, beginning at the top and 
ending at the bottom. 

" What are you doing ? " asked Em, who heard 
the falling fragments. 

Her companion made her no reply ; but leaned 
on every little cross-bar, which cracked and gave 
way beneath her. Then she pressed with all her 
strength against the shutter. She had thought 
the wooden buttons would give way, but by the 
clinking sound she knew that the iron bar had 
been put across. She was quite quiet for a time. 
Clambering down, she took from the table a small 
one-bladed pen-knife, with which she began to 
peck at the hard wood of the shutter. 

" What are you doing now ? " asked Em, who 
had ceased crying in her wonder, and had drawn 
near. 

" Trying to make a hole," was the short reply. 

" Do you think you will be able to ? " 

" No ; but I am trying." 

In an agony of suspense Em waited. For ten 
minutes Lyndall pecked. The hole was three- 
eighths of an inch deep— then the blade sprang 
into ten pieces. 

"What has happened now?" asked Em, blub- 
bering afresh. 

" Nothing," said Lyndall. " Bring me my 
rright-.gown, a piece of paper, and the matches." 



92 THE STORY OF 

Wondering, Em fumbled about till she found 
them. 

" What are you going to do with them ? " sh© 
whispered. 

" Burn down the window." 

" But won't the whole house take fire, andbunv 
too ? " 

" Yes." 

" But will it not be very wicked ? " 

" Yes, very. And I do not care." 

She arranged the night-gown carefully in the 
corner of the window, with the chips of the frame 
about it. There was only one match in the box. 
She drew it carefully along the wall. For a 
moment it burnt up blue, and showed the tiny 
face with its glistening eyes. She held it care- 
fully to the paper. For "an instant it burnt up 
brightly, then flickered and went out. She blew 
the spark, but it died also. Then she threw the 
paper on to the ground, trod on it, and went to 
her bed, and began to undress. 

Em rushed to the door, knocking against it 
wildly. 

" Oh, Tant' Sannie ! Tant' Sannie ! Oh, let 
us out ! " she cried. " Oh, Lyndall, what are we 
to do ? " 

Lyndall wiped a drop of blood off the lip she 
had bitten. 

" I am going to sleep," she said. " If you like 
to sit there and howl till the morning, do. Per^ 
haps you will find that it helps ; I never heard 
that howling helped any one." 

Long after, when Em herself had gone to bed 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 93 

and was almost asleep, Lyndall came and stood 
at her bedside. 

" Here," she said, slipping a little pot of 
powder into her hand; "rub some on to your 
face. Does it not burn where she struck you ? " 

Then she crept back to her own bed. Long, 
long after, when Em was really asleep, she lay 
still awake, and folded her hands on her little 
breast, and muttered, — 

" When that day comes, and I am strong, I 
will hate everything that has power, and help 
everything that is weak." And she bit her lip 
again. 

The German looked out at the cabin door for 
the last time that night. Then he paced the 
room slowly and sighed. Then he drew out pen 
and paper, and sat down to write, rubbing his old 
gray eyes with his knuckles before he began. 

" My Chickens, 

" You did not come to say good-bye 
to the old man.' Might you ? Ah, well, there is 
a land where they part no more, where saints im- 
mortal reign. 

" I sit here alone, and I think of you. Will 
you forget the old man ? When you wake to- 
morrow he will be far away. The old horse is 
lazy, but he has his stick to help him ; that is 
three legs. He comes back one day with gold 
and diamonds. Will you welcome him ? Well, 
we shall see. I go to meet Waldo. He comes 
back with the wagon; then he follows me. Poor 
boy I God knows. There is a land where 



94 THE STORY OF 

all things are made right, but that land is not 
here. 

" My little children, serve the Saviour ; give 
your hearts to Him while you are yet young. 
Life is short. 

" Nothing is mine, otherwise I would say, 
Lyndall, take my books, Em my stones. Now I 
say nothing. The things are mine : it is not 
righteous, God knows ! But I am silent. Let it 
be. But I feel it, I must say I feel it. 

" Do not cry too much for the old man. He 
goes out to seek his fortune, and comes back with 
it in a bag, it may be. 

" I love my children. Do they think of me ? 
I am Old Otto, who goes out to seek his fortune. 

" O. F." 

Having concluded this quaint production, he 
put it where the children would find it the next 
morning, and proceeded to prepare his bundle. 
He never thought of entering a protest against 
the loss of his goods : like a child he submitted, 
and wept. He had been there eleven years, and 
it was hard to go away. He spread open on the 
bed a blue handkerchief, and on it put one by one 
the things he thought most necessary and im- 
portant : a little bag of curious seeds, which he 
meant to plant some day, an old German hymn- 
book, three misshapen stones that he greatly 
valued, a Bible, a shirt, and two handkerchiefs ; 
then there was room for nothing more. He tied 
up the bundle tightly and put it on a chair by ira 
bedside. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 9^ 

>. 

" That is not much ; they cannot say I take 
much," he said, looking at it. 

He put his knotted stick beside it, his blue 
tobacco-bag and his short pipe, and then inspected 
his coats. He had two left — a moth-eate^, over- 
coat and a black alpaca out at the elbows. Ho 
decided for the overcoat : it was warm certainly, 
but then he could carry it over his arm, and only 
put it on when he met some one along the road. 
It was more respectable than the black alpaca. 
He hung the great-coat over the back of the chair, 
and stuffed a hard bit of roaster-cake under the 
knot of the bundle, and then his preparations 
were completed. The German stood contemplat- 
ing them with much satisfaction. He had almost 
forgotten his sorrow at leaving in his pleasure at 
preparing. Suddenly he started ; an expression 
of intense pain passed over his face. He drew 
back his left arm quickly, and then pressed his 
right hand upon his breast. 

" Ah, the sudden pang again," he said. 

His face was white, but it quickly regained its 
color. Then the old man busied himself in put- 
ting everything right. 

" I will lea^e it neat. They shall not say I did 
not leave it neat," he said. Even the little bags 
of seeds on the mantel-piece he put in rows and 
dusted. Then he undressed and got into bed. 
Under his pillow was a little story-book. He 
drew it forth. To the old German a story was 
no story. Its events were as real and as impor- 
tant to himself as the matters of his own life. 
He could not go away without knowing whether 



96 . THE STORY OF 

that wicked Earl relented, and whether the Baron 
married Emilina. So he adjusted his spectacles 
and began to read. Occasionally, as his feelings 
became too strongly moved, he ejaculated, "Ah, 
I thought so ! — That was a rogue X I saw it be- 
fore ! — I knew it from the beginning ! " More 
than half an hour had passed when he looked up 
to the silver watch at the top of his bed. 

" The march is long to-morrow ; this will not 
do," he said, taking off his spectacles and putting 
them carefully into the book to mark the place. 
" This will be good reading as I walk along to- 
morrow," he added, as he stuffed the book into 
the pocket of the great-coat ; "very good reading.'*' 
He nodded his head and lay down. He thought 
a little of his own troubles, a good deal of the 
two little girls he was leaving, of the Earl, of 
Emilina, of the Baron: but he was soon asleep- 
sleeping as peacefully as a little child upon whose 
innocent soul sorrow and care cannot rest. 

It was very quiet in the room. The coals in 
the fireplace threw a dull red light across the 
floor upon the red lions on the quilt. Eleven 
o'clock came, and the room was very still. One 
o'clock came. The glimmer had died out, though 
the ashes were still warm, and the room was very 
dark. The gray mouse, who had its hole under 
the tool-box, came out and sat on the sacks in the 
corner ; then, growing bolder, the room was so 
dark, it climbed the chair at the bedside, nibbled 
at the roaster-cake, took one bite quickly at the 
candle, and then sat on his haunches listening. 
It heard the even breathing of the old man, and 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 97 

the steps of the hungry Kaffir dog going his last 
round in search of a bone or a skin that had 
been forgotten ; and it heard the white hen call 
out as the wild cat ran away with one of her 
brood, and it heard the chicken cry. Then the 
gray mouse went back to its hole under the -tool- 
box, and the room was quiet. And two o'clock 
came. By that time the night was grown dull 
and cloudy. The wild cat had gone to its home 
on the " kopje ; " the Kaffir dog had found a 
bone, and lay gnawing it. 

An intense quiet reigned everywhere. Only 
in her room the Boer-woman tossed her great 
arms in her sleep ; for she dreamed that a dark 
shadow with outstretched wings fled slowly over 
her house, and she moaned and shivered. And 
the night was very still. 

But, quiet as all places were, there was a quite 
peculiar quiet in the German's room. Though 
you strained your ear most carefully you caught 
no sound of breathing. 

He was not gone, for the old coat still hung on 
the chair — the coat that was to be put on when* 
he met any one ; and the bundle and stick were* 
ready for to-morrow's long march. The old Ger- 
man himself lay there, his wavy black hair just 
touched with gray thrown back upon the pillow* 
The old face was lying there alone in the dark^ 
smiling like a little child's — oh, so peacefully* 
There is a stranger whose coming, they say, is 
worse than all the ills of life, from whose pres- 
ence we flee away trembling; but he comes very 
tenderly sometimes. And it seemed almost as 

7 



98 THE STORY OF 

though Death had known and loved the old man, 
so gently it touched him. And how could it deal 
hardly with him — the loving, simple, childlike old 
man? 

So it smoothed out the wrinkles that were ii» the 
old forehead, and fixed the passing smile, and 
sealed the eyes that they might not weep again ; 
and then the short sleep of time was melted into 
the long, long sleep of eternity. 

" How has he grown so young in this one 
night ? " they said when they found him in the 
morning. 

Yes, dear old man ; to such as you time brings 
no age. You die with the purity and innocence 
of your childhood upon you, though you die in 
your gray hairs. 

CHAPTER IX. v 

HE SEES A GHOST. 

Bonaparte stood on the ash-heap. He espied 
across the plain a moving speck, and he chucked 
his coat-tails up and down in expectancy of a 
scene. 

The wagon came on slowly. Waldo laid curled 
among the sacks at the back of the wagon, the 
hand in his breast resting on the sheep-shearing 
machine. It was finished now. The right 
thought had struck him the day before as he sat, 
half asleep, watching the water go over the mill- 
wheel. He muttered to himself with half-closed 
eyes,— 



AN AFRICAN FA RM. 99 

"Tomorrow smooth the cogs — tighten the 
screws a little— show it to them." Then after a 
pause — " Over the whole world— the whole world 
---mine, that I have made ! " He pressed the 
little wheels and pulleys in his pocket till they 
cracked. Presently his muttering became louder 
— " And fifty pounds — a black hat for my dadda 
—for Lyndall a blue silk, very light ; and one 
purple like the earth-bells, and white shoes." 
He muttered on — " A box full, full of books. 
They shall tell me all, all, all," he added, moving 
his fingers desiringly : " why the crystals grow in 
such beautiful shapes ; why lightning runs to the 
iron ; why black people are black ; why the sun- 
light makes things warm. I shall read, read, 
read," he muttered slowly. Then came over him 
suddenly what he called " The Presence of God ; " 
a sense of a good, strong something folding him 
round. He smiled through his half-shut eyes. 
" Ah, Father, my own Father, it is so sweet to 
feel You, like the warm sunshine. The Bibles 
and books cannot tell of you and all I feel you. 
They are mixed with men's words ; but you " 

His muttering sank into inaudible confusion, 
till, opening his eyes wide, it struck him that the 
brown plain he looked at was the old home farm. 
For half an hour they had been riding in it, and 
he had not known it. He roused the leader, who 
sat nodding on the front of the wagon in the 
early morning sunlight. They were within half a 
mile of the homestead. It seemed to him that 
he had been gone from them all a year. He 
fancied he could see Lyndall standing on the 



IOO THE STORY OF 

brick wall to watch for him ; his father, passing 
from one house to the other, stopping to look. 

He called aloud to the oxen. For each one at 
home he had brought something. For his father 
a piece of tobacco, bought at the shop by the mill ; 
for Em a thimble ; for Lyndall a beautiful flower 
dug out by the roots, at a place where they had 
" out-spanned ; " for Tant' Sannie a handkerchief. 
When they drew near the house he threw the whip 
to the Kaffir leader, and sprang from the side of 
the wagon to run on. Bonaparte stopped him as 
he ran past the ash-heap. 

" Good-morning, my dear boy. Where are you 
running to so fast with your rosy cheeks ? " 

The boy looked up at him, glad even to see 
Bonaparte. 

" I am going to the cabin," he said, out of 
breath. 

" You won't find them in just now— not your 
good old father," said Bonaparte. 

" Where is he ? " asked the lad. 

" There, beyond the camps," said Bonaparte, 
waving his hand oratorically toward the stone- 
walled ostrich-camps. 

" What is he doing there ? " asked the boy. 

Bonaparte patted him on the cheek kindly. 

" We could not keep him any more, it was too 
hot. We've buried him, my boy," said Bonaparte, 
touching with his finger the boy's cheek. " We 
couldn't keep him any more. He, he, he ! " 
laughed Bonaparte, as the boy fled away along 
the low stone wail, almost furtively, as one in 
fear. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. ioi 



At five o'clock Borraparte knelt before a box in 
the German's room. He was busily unpacking it. 

It had been agreed upon between Tant' Sannie 
and himself, that now the German was gone he, 
Bonaparte, was to be no longer schoolmaster, but 
overseer of the farm. In return for his past 
scholastic labors he had expressed himself will- 
ing to take possession of the dead man's goods 
and room. Tant' Sannie hardly liked the arrange- 
ment. She had a great deal more respect for the 
German dead than the German living, and would 
rather his goods had been allowed to descend 
peacefully to his son. For she was a firm be- 
liever in the chinks in the world above, where not 
only ears, but eyes might be applied to see how 
things went on in this world below. She never 
felt sure how far the spirit-world might overlap 
this world of sense, and, as a rule, prudently 
abstained from doing anything which might 
offend unseen auditors. For this reason she 
abstained from ill-using the dead Englishman's 
daughter and niece, and for this reason she would 
rather the boy had had his father's goods. But 
it was hard to refuse Bonaparte anything when 
she and he sat so happily together in the evening 
drinking coffee, Bonaparte telling her in the 
broken Dutch he was fast learning how he adored 
fat women, and what a splendid farmer he 
was. 

So at five o'clock on this afternoon Bonaparte 
knelt in the German's room. 

f,i Somewhere here it is," he said^ as he packed 



102 THE STORY OF 

the old clothes carefully out of the box, and, 
finding nothing, packed them in again. " Some- 
where in this room it is; and if it's here Bon- 
aparte finds it," he repeated. " You didn't stay- 
here all these years without making a little pile 
somewhere, my lamb. You weren't such a fool 
as you looked. Oh, no ! " said Bonaparte. 

He now walked about the room, diving his 
fingers in everywhere ; sticking them into the 
great crevices in the wall and frightening out the 
spiders ; rapping them against the old plaster till 
it cracked and fell in pieces ; peering up the 
chimney, till the soot dropped on his bald head 
and blackened it. He felt in little blue bags ; he 
tried to raise the hearth-stone ; he shook each 
book, till the old leaves fell down in showers on 
the floor. 

It was getting dark, and Bonaparte stood with 
his finger on his nose reflecting. Finally he 
walked to the door, behind which hung the 
trousers and waistcoat the dead man had last 
worn. He had felt in them, but hurriedly, just 
after the funeral the day before ; he would ex- 
amine them again. Sticking his fingers into the 
waistcoat pockets, he found in one corner a hole. 
Pressing his hand through it, between the lining 
and the cloth, he presently came into contact 
with something. Bonaparte drew it forth — a 
small, square parcel, sewed up in sail-cloth. He 
gazed at it, squeezed it ; it cracked, as though 
full of bank-notes. He put it quickly into his 
own waistcoat pocket, and peeped over the half- 
door to see if there was any one coming. There 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 103 

was nothing to be seen but the last rays of yellow 
sunset light, painting the karroo bushes in the 
plain, and shining on the ash-heap, where the 
fowls were pecking. He turned and sat down on 
the nearest chair, and, taking out his pen-knife, 
ripped the parcel open. The first thing that fell 
was a shower of yellow faded papers. Bonaparte 
opened them carefully one by one, and smoothed 
them out on his knee. There was something 
very valuable to be hidden so carefully, though 
the German characters he could not decipher. 
When he came to the last one, he felt there was 
something hard in it. 

" You've got it, Bon, my boy ! you've got it ! " 
he cried, slapping his leg hard. Edging nearer 
to the door, for the light was fading, he opened 
the paper carefully. There was nothing inside 
but a plain gold wedding-ring. 

" Better than nothing ! " said Bonaparte, trying 
to put it on his little finger, which, however, 
proved too fat. 

He took it off and set it down on the table 
before him, and looked at it with his crosswise 
eyes. 

" When that auspicious hour, Sannie," he said, 
" shall have arrived, when, panting, I shall lead 
thee, lighted by Hymen's torch, to the connubial 
altar, then upon thy fair amaranthine finger, my 
joyous bride, shall this ring repose. 

" Thy fair body, oh, my girl, 
Shall Bonaparte possess ; 
His fingers in thy money-bags, 
He therein, too, shall mess." 



i04 THE STORY OF 

Having given utterance to this flood of poesy, 
he sat lost in joyous reflection. 

" He therein, too, shall mess," he repeated, 
meditatively. 

At this instant, as Bonaparte swore, and swore 
truly to the end of his life, a slow and distinct 
rap was given on the crown of his bald head, 

Bonaparte started and looked up. No " reim," 
or strap, hung down from the rafters above, and 
not a human creature was near the door. It was 
growing dark ; he did not like it. He began to 
fold up the papers expeditiously. He stretched 
out his hand for the ring. The ring was gone ! 
Gone, although no human creature had entered 
the room ; gone, although no form had crossed 
the doorway. Gone ! He would not sleep there, 
that was certain. 

He stuffed the papers into his pocket. ^ As he 
did so, three slow and distant taps were given on 
the crown of his head. Bonaparte's jaw fell : 
each separate joint lost its power ; he could not 
move ; he dared not rise ; his tongue lay loose in 
his mouth. 

" Take all, take all ! " he gurgled in his throat. 
" I— I do not want them. Take " 

Here a resolute tug at the gray curls at the 
back of his head caused him to leap up, yelling 
wildly. Was he to sit still paralyzed, to be 
dragged away bodily to the devil ? With terrific 
shrieks he fled, casting no glance behind. 

When the dew was falling, and the evening 
Was dark, a small figure moved toward the gate 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 105 

of the farthest ostrich-camp, driving a bird before 
it. When the gate was opened and the bird 
driven in and the gate fastened, it turned away, 
but then suddenly paused near the stone wall. 

"Is that you, Waldo ? " said Lyndall, hearing a 
sound. 

The boy was sitting on the damp ground' with 
his back to the wall. He gave her no answer. 

" Come," she said, bending over him, " I have 
been looking for you all day." 

He mumbled something. 

" You have had nothing to eat. I have put 
some supper in your room. You must come 
home with me, Waldo." 

She took his hand, and the boy rose slowly. 

She made him take her arm, and twisted her 
small fingers among his. 

" You must forget," she whispered. " Since it 
happened I walk, I talk, I never sit still. If we 
remember, we- cannot bring back the dead." 
She knit her little fingers closer among his. 
" Forgetting is the best thing. He did not 
watch it coming, " she whispered presently. 
" That is the dreadful thing, to see it coming ! " 
She shuddered. " I want it to come so to me too. 
Why do you think I was driving that bird ? " she 
added quickly. " That was Hans, the bird that 
hates Bonaparte. I let him out this afternoon ; I 
thought he would chase him and perhaps kill 
him." 

The boy showed no sign of interest. 

" He did not catch him ; but he put his head 
over the half-door of your cabin and frightened 



io6 THE STORY OF 

him horribly. He was there, busy stealing your 
things. Perhaps he will leave them alone now ; 
but I wish the bird had trodden on him." 

They said no more till they reached the door 
of the cabin. 

" There is a candle and supper on the table. 
You must eat," she said, authoritatively. " I 
cannot stay with you now, lest they find out 
about the bird." 

He grasped her arm and brought his mouth 
close to her ear. 

" There is no God ! " he almost hissed ; " no 
God ; not anywhere ! " 

She started. 

" Not a?iywhe?'e / " 

He ground it out between his teeth, and she 
felt his hot breath on her cheek. 

" Waldo, you are mad," she said, drawing her- 
self from him instinctively. 

He loosened his grasp and turned away from 
her. 

In truth, is it not life's way ? We fight our 
little battles alone ; you yours, I mine. We must 
not help or find help. 

When your life is most real, to me you are mad ; 
when your agony is blackest I look at you and 
wonder. Friendship is good', a strong stick ; but 
when the hour comes to lean hard, it gives. In 
the day of their bitterest need all souls are 
alone. 

Lyndall stood by him in the dark, pityingly, 
wonderingly. As he walked to the door she 
came after him. 



. AN AFRICAN FARM. 107 

" Eat your supper j it will do you good," she 
said. 

She rubbed her cheek against his shoulder and 
then ran away. 

In the front room the little woolly Kaffir 
girl was washing Tant' Sannie's feet in a small 
tub, and Bonaparte, who sat on the wooden sofa, 
was pulling off his shoes and stockings that his 
own feet might be washed also. There were 
three candles burning in the room, and he and 
Tant' Sannie sat close together, with the lean 
Hottentot not far off ; for when ghosts are about 
much light is needed, there is great strength in 
numbers. Bonaparte had completely recovered 
from the effects of his fright in the afternoon, 
and the numerous doses of brandy that it had 
been necessary to administer to him to effect his 
restoration had put him into a singularly pleasant 
and amiable mood. 

t " That boy Waldo," said Bonaparte, rubbing 
his toes, " took himself off coolly this morning as 
soon as the wagon came, and has not done a 
stiver of work all day. 77/ not have that kind of 
thing now I'm master of this farm." 

The Hottentot maid translated. 

" Ah, I expect he's sorry that his father's 
dead," said Tant' Sannie. ' "It's nature, you 
know. I cried the whole morning when my 
father died. One can always get another hus- 
band, but one can't get another father," said 
Tant' Sannie, casting a sidelong glance at Bona- 
parte. 

Bonaparte expressed a wish to give Waldo his 



1 08 THE S TOR Y OF 

orders for the next day's work, and accordingly 
the little woolly-headed Kaffir was sent to call 
him. After a considerable time the boy appeared, 
and stood in the doorway. 

If they had dressed him in one of the swallow- 
tailed coats, and oiled his hair till the drops fell 
from it, and it lay as smooth as an elder's on sac- 
rament Sunday, there would still have been 
something unanointed in the aspect of the fellow. 
As it was, standing there in his strange old cos- 
tume, his head presenting much the appearance 
of having been deeply rolled in sand, his eyelids 
swollen, the hair hanging over his forehead, and 
a dogged sullenness on his features, he presented 
most the appearance of an ill-conditioned young 
buffalo. 

" Beloved Lord," cried Tant' Sannie, " how he 
looks ! Come in, boy. Couldn't you come and 
say good-day to me? Don't you want some 
supper ? " 

He said he wanted nothing, and turned his 
heavy eyes away from her. 

" There 4> a ghost been seen in your father's 
room," said Tant' Sannie. " If you are afraid 
you can sleep in the kitchen." 

" I will sleep in our room," said the boy slowly. 

" Well, you can go now," she said ; " but be 
up early to take the sheep. The herd " 

" Yes, be up early, my boy," interrupted Bona- 
parte, smiling. " I am to be master of this farm 
now ; and we shall be good friends, I trust, very 
good friends, if you try to do your duty, my dear 
boy." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 109 

Waldo turned to go, and Bonaparte, looking 
benignly at the candle, stretched out one unstock- 
inged foot, over which Waldo, looking at nothing 
in particular, fell with a heavy thud upon the 
floor. 

" Dear me ! I hope you are not hurt, my boy," 
said Bonaparte. "You'll have many a harder 
thing than that though, before you've gone 
through life," he added consolingly, as Waldo 
picked himself up. 

The lean Hottentot laughed till the room rang 
again ; and Tant' Sannie tittered till her sides 
ached. 

When he had gone the little maid began to 
wash Bonaparte's feet. 

" Oh, Lord, beloved Lord, how he did fall ! I 
can't think of it," cried Tant' Sannie, and she 
laughed again. " I always did know he was not 
right ; but this evening anyone could see it," she 
added, wiping the tears of mirth from her face. 
" His eyes are as wild as if the devil was in them. 
He never was like other children. The dear 
Lord knows, if he doesn't walk alone for hours 
talking to himself. If you sit in the room with 
him you can see his lips moving the whole time ; 
and if you talk to him twenty times he doesn't 
hear you. Daft-eyes ; he's as mad as mad can 
be." 

The repetition of the word mad conveyed mean- 
ing to Bonaparte's mind. He left off paddling 
his toes in the water. 

" Mad, mad ? I know that kind of mad," said 
Bonaparte, " and I know the thing to give for it. 



no THE STORY OF 

The front end of a little horsewhip, the tip! 
Nice thing ; takes it out," said Bonaparte. 

The Hottentot laughed, and translated. 

" No more walking about and talking to them- 
selves on this farm now," said Bonaparte ; " no 
more minding of sheep and reading of books at 
the same time. The point of a horsewhip is a 
little thing, but I think he'll have a- taste of it 
before long." Bonaparte rubbed his hands and 
looked pleasantly across his nose ; and then the 
three laughed together grimly. 

And Waldo in his cabin crouched in the dark 
in a corner, with his knees drawn up to his chin. 



CHAPTER X. 

HE SHOWS HIS TEETH. 

Doss sat among the karroo bushes, one yellow 
ear drawn over his wicked little eye, ready to flap 
away any adventurous fly that might settle on his 
nose." Around him in the morning sunlight fed 
the sheep ; behind him lay his master polishing 
his machine. He found much comfort in hand- 
ling it that morning. A dozen philosophical 
essays, or angelically tuned songs for the conso- 
lation of the bereaved, could never have been to 
him what that little sheep-shearing machine was 
that day. 

After struggling to see the unseeable, growing 
drunk with the endeavor to span the infinite, and 
writhing before the inscrutable mystery, it is a 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 1 1 1 

renovating relief to turn to some simple, feelable, 
weighable substance ; to something which has a 
smell and a color, which may be handled and 
turned over this way and that. Whether there 
be or be not a hereafter, whether there be 
any use in calling aloud to the Unseen Power, 
whether there be an Unseen Power to call to 
whatever be the true nature of the / who call 
and of the obiects around me, whatever be our 
meaning, our Internal essence, our cause (and in 
a certain order of minds death and the agony of 
loss inevitably awaken the wild desire, at other 
times smothered, to look into these things), what- 
ever be the nature of that which lies beyond the 
unbroken wall which the limits of the human in- 
tellect build up on every hand, this- thing is cer- 
tain—a knife will cut wood, and one cogged 
wheel will turn another. This is sure. > 

Waldo found an immeasurable satisfaction in 
the handling of his machine; but Doss winked 
and blinked, and thought it all frightfully monoto- 
nous out there on the flat, and presently dropped 
asleep, sitting bolt upright. Suddenly his eyes 
opened wide ; something was coming from the 
direction of the homestead. Winking his eyes 
and looking intently, he perceived it was the gray 
rnare Now Doss had wondered much of late 
what had become of her master. Seeing she 
carried some one on her back, he now came to 
his own conclusion, and began to move his tail 
violently up and down. Presently he pricked 
up one ear and let the other hang ; his tail became 
motionless, and the expression of his mouth was 



112 THE STORY OF 

one of decided disapproval bordering on scorn. 
He wrinkled his- lips up on each side into little 
lines. 

The sand was soft, and the gray mare came on 
so noiselessly that the boy heard nothing till 
Bonaparte dismounted. Then Doss got up and 
moved back a step. He did not approve of 
Bonaparte's appearance. His costume, in truth, 
was of a unique kind. It was a combination of 
the town and country. The tails of his black 
cloth coat were pinned up behind to keep them 
from rubbing; he had on a pair of moleskin 
trousers and leather gaiters, and in his hand he 
carried a little whip of rhinoceros hide. 

Waldo started and looked up. Had there been 
a moment's time he would have dug a hole in the 
sand with his hands and buried his treasure. It 
was only a toy of wood, but he loved it, as one 
of necessity loves what has been born of him, 
whether of the flesh or spirit. When cold eyes 
have looked at it, the feathers are rubbed off 
our butterfly's wing forever. 

" What have you here, my lad ? " said Bon- 
aparte, standing by him, and pointing with the 
end of his whip to the medley of wheels and 
hinges. 

The boy muttered something inaudible, and 
half-spread his hand over the thing. 

" But this seems to be a very ingenious little 
machine," said Bonaparte, seating himself on the 
ant-heap, and bending down over it with deep 
interest. " What is it for, my lad ? " 

" Shearing sheep." 



AN AFRICAN FAKM. 1 13 

« It is a very nice little machine," said Bon- 
aparte. " How does it work, now ? I have never 
seen anything so ingenious ! " 

There was never a parent who heard deception 
in the voice that praised his child— his first-born. 
Here was one who .liked the thing that had been 
created in him. He forgot everything. He 
showed how the shears would work with a littte 
guidance, how the sheep would be held, and the 
wool fall in the trough. A flush burst over his 
face as he spoke. 

"I tell you what, my lad," said Bonaparte 
emphatically, when the explanation was finished, 
"we must get you a patent. Your fortune is 
made. In three years' time there'll not be^ a 
farm in this colony where it isn't working. You're 
a genius, that's what you are ! " said Bonaparte, 
rising. . . 

" If it were made larger," said the boy, raising 
his eyes, "it would work more smoothly. Do 
you think there would be any one in this colony 
would be able to make it ? " 

" I'm sure they could," said Bonaparte ; " and 
if not, why, I'll do my best for you. I'll send it 
to England. It must be done somehow. How 
long have you worked at it ? " 
" Nine months," said the boy. 
"Oh, it is such a nice little machine," said 
Bonaparte, " one can't help feeling an interest in 
it. There is only me little improvement, one very 
little improvement, I should like to make." 

Bonaparte put his foot on the machine and 
crushed it into the sand. The boy looked up 
into his face. 
8 



il4 THE STORY OF 

" Looks better now," said Bonaparte, " doesn't 
it ? If we can't have it made in England we'll 
send it to America. Good-bye ; ta-ta," he added. 
" You're a great genius, a born genius, my dear 
boy, there's no doubt about it." 

He mounted the gray mare and rode off. The 
dog watched his retreat with cynical satisfac- 
tion ; but his master lay on the ground with his 
head on his arms in the sand, and the little wheels 
and chips of wood lay on the ground around him. 
The dog jumped on to his back and snapped at 
the black curls, till, finding that no notice was 
taken, he walked off to play with a black beetle. 
The beetle was hard at work trying to roll home 
a great ball of dung it had been collecting all the 
morning ; but Doss broke the ball, and ate the 
beetle's hind legs, and then bit off its head. And 
it was all play, and no one could tell what it had 
lived and worked for. A striving, and a striving, 
and an ending in nothing. 



CHAPTER XL 

HE SNAPS. 

" I have found something in the loft," said Em 
to Waldo, who was listlessly piling cakes of fuel 
on the kraal wall, a week after. " It is a box of 
books that belonged to my father. We thought 
Tant' Sannie had burnt them." 

The boy put down the cake he was raising and 
looked at her. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 1 1 5 

* I don't think they are very nice — not stories," 
she added, " but you can go and take any you 
like." 

So saying, she took up the plate in which she 
had brought his breakfast, and walked off to the 
house. 

After that the boy worked quickly. The pile 
of fuel Bonaparte had ordered him to pack was 
on the wall in half an hour. He then went to 
throw salt on the skins laid out to dry. Finding 
the pot empty, he went to the loft to refill it. 

Bonaparte Blenkins, whose door opened at the 
foot of the ladder, saw the boy go up, and stood 
in the doorway waiting for his return. He wanted 
his boots blacked. Doss, finding he could not 
follow his master up the round bars, sat patiently 
at the foot of the ladder. Presently he looked 
up longingly, but no one appeared. Then Bona- 
parte looked up also, and began to call ; but there 
was no answer. What could the boy be doing ? 
The loft was an unknown land to Bonaparte. He 
had often wondered what was up there ; he liked 
to know what was in all locked-up places and out- 
of-the-way corners, but he was afraid to climb the 
ladder. So Bonaparte looked up, and, in the 
name of all that was tantalizing, questioned what 
the boy did up there. The loft was used only as 
a lumber-room. What could the fellow find up 
there to keep him so long ? 

Could the Boer-woman have beheld Waldo at 
that instant, any lingering doubt which might 
have remained in her mind as to the boy's insanity 
would instantly have vanished. For, having filled 



Il6 THE STORY OF 

the salt-pot, he proceeded to look for the box of 
books among the rubbish that rilled the loft. 
Under a pile of sacks he found it — a rough pack- 
ing-case, nailed up, but with one loose plank. He 
lifted that, and saw the even backs of a row of 
books. He knelt down before the box, and ran 
his hand along its rough edges, as if to assure 
himself of its existence. He stuck his hand in 
among the books, and pulled out two. He felt 
them, thrust his fingers in among the leaves, and 
crumpled them a little, as a lover feels the hair 
of his mistress. The fellow gloated over his treas- 
ure. He had had a dozen books in the course 
oi his life ; now here was a mine of them opened 
at his feet. After a while he began to read the 
titles, and now and again opened a book and 
read a sentence ; but he was too excited to catch 
the meanings distinctly. At last he came to a 
dull, brown volume. He read the name, opened 
it in the center, and where he opened began to 
read. 'Twas a chapter on property that he fell 
upon — Communism, Fourierism, St. Simonism, in 
a work on Political Economy. He read down 
one page and turned over to the next ; he read 
down that without changing his posture by an 
inch ; he read the next, and the next, kneeling up 
all the while with the book in his hand, and his 
lips parted. 

All he read he did not fully understand ; the 
thoughts were new to him ; but this was the 
fellow's startled joy in the book — the thoughts 
were his, they belonged to him. He had never 
thought them before, but they were his. 



AN AFRICAN FARM, I 1 7 

He laughed silently and internally, with the still 
intensity of triumphant joy. 

So, then, all thinking creatures did not send up 
the one cry — " As thou, dear Lord, hast created 
things in the beginning, so are they now, so ought 
they to be, so will they be, world without end; 
and it doesn't concern us what they are. Amen." 
There were men to whom not only kopjes and 
stones were calling out imperatively, " What are 
we, and how came we here? Understand us, 
and know us ; " but to whom even the old, old 
relations between man and man, and the customs 
of the ages called, and could not be made still 
and forgotten. 

The boy's heavy body quivered with excite- 
ment. So he was not alone, not alone. He could 
not quite have told any one why he was so glad, 
and this warmth had come to him. His cheeks 
were burning. No wonder that Bonaparte called 
in vain, and Doss put his paws on the ladder, and 
whined till three-quarters of an hour had passed. 
At last the boy put the book in his breast and 
buttoned it tightly to him. He took up the salt- 
pot, and went to the top of the ladder. 'Bon- 
aparte, with his hands folded under his coat-tails, 
looked up when he appeared, and accosted him. 

" You've been rather a long time up there, my 
lad," he said, as the boy descended with a 
tremulous haste, most unlike his ordinary slow 
movements. " You didn't hear me calling, I 
suppose ? " 

Bonaparte whisked the tails of his coat up 
and down as he looked at him. He, Bonaparte 



ilS THE STORY OF 

Blenkins, had eyes^ which were very far-seeing. 
He looked at the pot. It was rather a small pot 
to have taken three-quarters of an hour in the 
filling. He looked at the face. It was flushed. 
And yet Tant' Sannie kept no wine — he had not 
been drinking; his eyes were wide open and 
bright — he had not been sleeping ; there was no 
girl up there — he had not been making love. 
Bonaparte looked at him sagaciously. What 
would account for the marvelous change in the 
boy coming down the ladder from the boy going 
up the ladder ? One thing there was. Did not 
Tant' Sannie keep in the loft " bultongs," and 
nice smoked sausages ? There must be something 
nice to eat up there ! Aha ! that was it ! 

Bonaparte was so interested in carrying out 
this chain of inductive reasoning that he quite 
forgot to have his boots blacked. 

He watched the boy shuffle off" with the salt- 
pot under his arm ; then he stood in his doorway, 
and raised his eyes to the quiet blue sky, and 
audibly propounded this riddle to himself : » 

" What is the connection between the naked 
back of a certain boy with a great-coat on and a 
salt-pot under his arm, -and the tip of a horse- 
whip ? Answer : No connection at present, but 
there will be soon." 

Bonaparte was so pleased with this sally of his 
wit that he chuckled a little, and went to lie down 
Dn his bed. 

There was bread-baking that afternoon, and 
there was a fire lighted in the brick oven be- 
hind the house, and Tant' Sannie had left the 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 1 1 9 

great wooden-elbowed chair in which she passed 
her life, and waddled out to look at it. Not far 
off was Waldo, who, having thrown a pail of food 
into the pigsty, now leaned over the sod-wall 
looking at the pigs. Half of the sty was dry, but 
the lower half was a pool of mud, on the edge of 
which the mother sow lay with closed eyes, her 
ten little ones sucking ; the father-pig, knee-deep 
in the mud, stood running his snout into a rotten 
pumpkin and wriggling his curled tail. 

Waldo wondered dreamily as he stared why 
they were pleasant to look at. Taken singly 
they were not beautiful ; taken together they were. 
Was it not because there was a certain harmony 
about them ? The old sow was suited to the 
little pigs, and the little pigs to their mother, the 
old boar to the rotten pumpkin, and all to the 
mud. They suggested the thought of nothing 
that should be added, of nothing that should be 
taken away. And, he wondered on vaguely, was 
not that the secret of all beauty, that you who 

look on So he stood dreaming, and leaned 

further and further over the sod-wall and looked 
at the pigs. 

All this time Bonaparte Blenkins was sloping 
down from the house in an aimless sort of way ; 
but he kept one eye fixed on the pigsty, and each 
gyration brought him nearer to it. Waldo stood 
like a thing asleep when Bonaparte came close 
up to him. 

In old days, when a small boy, playing in 
an Irish street-gutter, he, Eonaparte, had been 
familiarly known among his comrades \xaf*^ #£ 



120 THE STORY OF 

title of Tripping Ben ; this, from the rare easfc 
and dexterity with which, by merely projecting 
his foot, he could precipitate any unfortunate 
companion on to the crown of his head. Years 
had elapsed, and Tripping Ben had become 
Bonaparte ; but the old gift was in him still. He 
came close to the pigsty. All the defunct mem- 
ories of his boyhood returned on him in a flood, 
as with an adroit movement he inserted his leg 
between Waldo and the wall, and sent him over 
into the pigsty. 

The little pigs were startled at the strange 
intruder, and ran behind their mother, who sniffed 
at him. Tant' Sannie smote her hands together and 
laughed ; but Bonaparte was far from joining her. 
Lost in reverie, he gazed at the distant horizon. 

The sudden reversal of head and feet had 
thrown out the volume that Waldo carried in his 
breast. Bonaparte picked it up, and began to 
inspect it, as the boy climbed slowly over the 
wall. He would have walked off sullenly, but he 
wanted his book, and waited till it should be 
given him. 

" Ha ! " said Bonaparte, raising his eyes from 
the leaves of the book which he was examining. 
" I hope your coat has not been injured ; it is of 
an elegant cut. An heirloom, I presume, from 
your paternal grandfather ? It looks nice now." 

" Oh, Lord ! oh, Lord ! " cried Tant' Sannie, 
laughing and holding her sides ; " how the child 
looks — as though he thought the mud would 
never wash off. Oh, Lord, I shall die ! You, 
Bonaparte, are the funniest man I ever saw." 



4A r AFX/CAJV FARM. 121 

Bonaparte Blenkins was now carefully inspect- 
ing the volume he had picked up. Among the 
subjects on which the darkness of his understand- 
ing had been enlightened during his youth, 
Political Economy had not been one. He was 
not therefore, very clear as to what the nature of 
the' book might be ; and as the name of the 
writer, J. S. Mill, might, for anything he knew 
to the contrary, have belonged to a venerable 
member of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 
it by no means threw light upon the question. 
He was not in any way sure that Political Econ- 
omy had nothing to do with the cheapest way of 
procuring clothing for the army and navy, which 
would be, certainly, both a political and econom- 
ical subject. . 

But Bonaparte soon came to a conclusion as to 
the nature of the book and its contents, by the 
application of a simple rule now largely acted 
upon, but which, becoming universal, would save 
much thought and valuable time. It is of mar- 
velous simplicity, of infinite utility, of universal 
applicability. It may easily be committed to^ 
memory, and runs thus : — % /T 

Whenever you come into contact with any book, 
person, or opinion of which you absolutely compre- 
hend nothing, declare that book, person, or opinion 
to be immoral. Bespatter it, vituperate against it, 
strongly insist that any man or woman harboring 
it is a fool or a knave, or both. Carefully abstain 
from studying it. Do all that in you lies to anm* 
hilate that book, person, or opinion. 

Acting on this rule, so wide in its comprehend 



122 THE STORY OF 

siveness, so beautifully simple in its working, 
Bonaparte approached Tant' Sannie with the 
book in his hand. Waldo came a step nearer, 
eyeing it like a dog whose young has fallen into 
evil hands. 

" This book," said Bonaparte, " is not a fit and 
proper study for a young and immature mind." 

Tant' Sannie did not understand a word, and 
said, 

" What ? " 

"This book," said Bonaparte, bringing down 
his finger with energy on the cover, " this book 
is sleg, sleg, Davel, Davel /" 

Tant' Sannie perceived from the gravity of his 
countenance that it was no laughing matter. 
From the words sleg and Davel she understood 
that the book was evil, and had some connection 
with the prince who pulls the wires of evil over 
the whole earth. 

"Where did you get this book?" she asked, 
turning her twinkling little eyes on Waldo. " I 
wish that my legs may be as thin as an English- 
man's if it isn't one of your father's. He had 
more sins than all the Kaffirs in Kaffirland, for 
all that he pretended to be so good all those 
years, and to live without a wife because he was 
thinking of the one that was dead ! As though 
ten dead wives could make up for one fat one 
with arms and legs ! " cried Tant' Sannie, snorting. 

" It was not my father's book," said the boy 
savagely. " I got it from your loft." 

" My loft ! my book ! How dare you ? " cried 
Tant' Sannie. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 123 

"It was Em's father's. She gave it me," he 
muttered more sullenly. 

" Give it here. What is the name of it ? What 
is it about ? " she asked, putting her finger upon 
the title. 

Bonaparte understood. 

" Political Economy," he said slowly. 

" Dear Lord ! " said Tant' Sannie, " cannot one 
hear from the very sound what an ungodly book 
it is ! One can hardly say the name. Haven't 
we got curses enough on this farm ? " cried 
Tant' Sannie, eloquently : " my best imported 
Merino ram dying of nobody knows what, and 
the short-horn cow casting her two calves, and 
the sheep eaten up with the scab and the drought ? 
And is this a time to bring ungodly things about 
the place, to call down the vengeance of Almighty 
God to punish us more ? Didn't the minister tell 
me when I was confirmed not to read any book 
except my Bible and hymn-book — that the Devil 
was in all the rest ? And I never have read any 
other book," said Tant' Sannie with virtuous 
energy, " and I never will ! " 

Waldo saw that the fate of his book was sealed, 
and turned sullenly on his heel. 

" So you will not stay to hear what I say ! " 
cried Tant' Sannie. "There, take your Polity- 
gollity-gominy, your Devil's book ! " she cried, 
flinging the book at his head with much energy. 

It merely touched his forehead on one side and 
fell to the ground. 

" Go on," she cried ; " 1 know you are going tc 
talk to ycurself. People who talk to themselves 



f24 THE STORY OF 

always talk to the Devil. Go and tell him all 
about it. Go, go ! run ! " cried Tant' Sannie. 

But the boy neither quickened nor slackened 
his pace, and passed sullenly round the back of 
the wagon-house. 

Books have been thrown at other heads before 
and since that summer afternoon, by hands more 
white and delicate than those of the Boer-woman ; 
but whether the result of the process has been i\\ 
any case wholly satisfactory may be questioned. 
We love that with a peculiar tenderness, we 
treasure it with a peculiar care, it has for us quite 
a fictitious value, for which we have suffered. If 
we may not carry it anywhere else we will carry 
it in our hearts, and always to the end. 

Bonaparte Blenkins went to pick up the volume, 
now loosened from its cover, while Tant' Sannie 
pushed the stumps of wood farther into the oven. 
Bonaparte came close to her, tapped the book 
knowingly, nodded, and looked at the fire. Tant' 
Sannie comprehended, and, taking the volume 
from his hand, threw it into the back of the oven. 
It lay upon the heap of coals, smoked, flared, and 
blazed, and the " Political Economy " was no 
more — gone out of existence, like many another 
poor heretic of flesh and blood. 

Bonaparte grinned, and to watch the process 
brought his face so near the oven-door that the 
white hair on his eye-brows got singed. He then 
inquired if there were any more in the loft. 

Learning that there were, he made signs in- 
dicative of taking up armfuls and flinging them 
into the fire. But Tant' Sannie was dubious. 



AN AFRICAN FARM, 1 25 

The deceased Englishman had left all his personal 
effects specially to his child. It was all very well 
for Bonaparte to talk of burning the books. He 
had had his hair spiritually pulled, and she had 
no wish to repeat his experience. 

She shook her head. Bonaparte was displeased. 
But then a happy thought occurred to him. He 
suggested that the key of the loft should hence- 
forth be put into his own safe care and keeping 
—no one gaining possession of it without his 
permission. To this Tant' Sannie readily as- 
sented, and the two walked lovingly to the house 
to look for it. 

CHAPTER XII. 

HE BITES. 

Bonaparte Blenkins was riding home on 
the gray mare. He had ridden out that after- 
noon, partly for the benefit of his health, partly 
to maintain his character as overseer of the farm. 
As he rode on slowly, he thoughtfully touched 
the ears of the gray mare with his whip. 

"No, Bon, my boy," he addressed himself, 
" don't propose ! You can't marry for four years, 
on account of the will ; then why propose ? 
Weedle her, tweedle her, teedle her, but don't let 
her make sure of you. When a woman," said 
Bonaparte, sagely resting his finger against the 
side of his nose — " when a woman is sure of .you 
she does what she likes with you ; but when she 



126 THE STORY OF 

Isn't, you do what you like with her. And I " 

said Bonaparte. 

Here he drew the horse up suddenly and 
looked. He was now close to the house, and 
leaning over the pigsty wall, in company with Em, 
who was showing her the pigs, was a strange 
female figure. It was the first visitor that had 
appeared on the farm since his arrival, and he 
looked at her with interest. She was a tall, pudgy 
girl of fifteen, weighing a hundred and fifty 
pounds, with baggy pendulous cheeks, and up- 
turned nose. She strikingly resembled Tant' 
Sannie in form and feature, but her sleepy good 
eyes lacked the twinkle that dwelt in the Boer- 
woman's small orbs. She was attired in a bright 
green print, wore brass rings in her ears and glass 
beads round her neck, and. was sucking the tip 
of her large finger as she looked at the pigs. 

" Who is it that has come ? " asked Bonaparte, 
when he stood drinking his coffee in the front 
room. 

; " Why, my niece, to be sure," said Tant' Sannie, 
the Hottentot maid translating. " She's the only 
daughter of my only brother Paul, and she's come 
to visit me. She'll be a nice mouthful to the man 
that can get her," added Tant' Sannie. " Her 
father's got two thousand pounds in the green 
wagon box under his bed, and a farm, and five 
thousand sheep, and God Almighty knows how 
many goats and horses. They milk ten cows in 
mid-wirier, and the young men are after her like 
flies about a bowl of milk. She says she means 
to get married in four months, but she doesn't 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 1 2 7 

yet know to whom. It was so with me when I 
was young," said Tant' Sannie : " I've sat up 
with the young men four and five nights a week. 
And they will come riding again, as soon as ever 
they know that the time's up that the Englishman 
made me agree not to marry in." 

The Boer-woman smirked complacently. 

" Where are you going to ? " asked Tant' Sannie 
presently, seeing that Bonaparte rose. 

" Ha ! I'm just going to the kraals ; I'll be in 
to supper," said Bonaparte. 

Nevertheless, when he reached his own door 
he stopped and turned in there. Soon after he 
stood before the little glass, arrayed in his best 
white shirt with the little tucks, and shaving him- 
self. He had on his very best trousers, and had 
heavily oiled the little fringe at the back of his 
head, which, however, refused to become darker. 
But what distressed him most was his nose^— it 
was very red. He rubbed his finger and thumb 
on the wall, and put a little whitewash on it ; but, 
finding it rather made matters worse, he rubbed 
it off again. Then he looked carefully into his 
own eyes. They certainly were a little pulled 
down at the outer corners, which gave them the 
appearance of looking crosswise ; but then they 
were a nice blue. So he put on his best coat, 
took up his stick, and went out to supper, feeling 
on the whole well satisfied. 

" Aunt," said Trana to Tant' Sannie when that 
night they lay together in the great wooden bed, 
" why does the Englishman sigh so when he looks 
at me ? " 



128 . THE STORY OF 

" Ha i " said Tant' Sannie, who was half asleep 
but suddenly started, wide awake. " It's because 
he thinks you look like me. I tell you, Trana," 
said Tant' Sannie, " the man is mad with love of 
me. I told him the other night I couldn't marry 
till Em was sixteen, or I'd lose all the sheep her 
father left me. And he talked about Jacob work- 
ing seven years and seven years again for his 
wife. And of course he meant me," said Tant' 
Sannie pompously. " But he won't get me so easily 
as he thinks : he'll have to ask more than once." 

" Oh ! " said Trana, who was a lumpish girl 
and not much given to talking ; but presently 
she added, "Aunt, why does the Englishman 
always knock against a person when he passes 
them ? " 

" That's because you are always in the way,*' 
said Tant' Sannie. 

" But, aunt," said Trana, presently, " I think 
he is very ugly." 

" Phugh!" said Tant' Sannie. "It's only 
because we're not accustomed to such noses in 
this country. In his country he says all the peo- 
ple have such noses, and the redder your nose 
is the higher you are. He's of the family of the 
Queen Victoria, you know," said Tant' Sannie, 
wakening up with her subject ; H and he doesn't 
think anything of governors and Church elders, 
and such people ; they are nothing to him. When 
his aunt with the dropsy dies he'll have money 
enough to buy all the farms in this district ! " 

" Oh ! " said Trana, That certainly made a 
difference. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 129 

"Yes," said Tant' Sannie ; "and he's only 
forty-one, though you'd take him to be sixty. 
And he told me last night the real reason of his 
baldness." 

Tant' Sannie then proceeded to relate how, at 
eighteen years of age, Bonaparte had courted a 
fair young lady. How a deadly rival, jealous of 
his verdant locks, his golden flowing hair, had, 
with a damnable and insinuating deception, made 
him a present of a pot of pomatum. How, apply- 
ing it in the evening, on rising in the morning, he 
found his pillow strewn with the golden locks, 
and, looking into the glass, beheld the shining and 
smooth expanse which henceforth he must bear. 
The few remaining hairs were turned to a silvery 
whiteness, and the young lady married his rival. 

" And," said Tant' Sannie solemnly, " if it 
had not been for the grace of God, and reading 
of the psalms, he says he would have killed him- 
self. He says he could kill himself quite- easily 
if he wants to marry a woman and she won't." 

" A le wereld," said Trana : and then they went 
to sleep. 

Every one was lost in sleep soon ; but from the 
window of the cabin the light streamed forth.' It 
came from a dung fire, over which Waldo sat 
brooding. Hour after hour he sat there, now 
and again throwing a fresh lump of fuel on to the 
fire, which burnt up bravely, and then sank into 
a great bed of red coals, which reflected them- 
selves in the boy's eyes as he sat there brooding, 
brooding, brooding. At last, when the fire was 
blazing at its brightest, he rose suddenly and 

9 



1 3 o THE STORY OF 

walked slowly to a beam from which an ox " reim n 
hung. Loosening it, he ran a noose in one end 
and then doubled it round his arm. 

" Mine, mine ! I have a right," he muttered; 
and then something louder, " if I fall and am 
killed, so much the better ! " 

He opened the door and went out into the 
starlight. 

He walked with his eyes bent upon the ground,, 
but overhead it was one of those brilliant southern 
nights when every sr ~i ^> small that your hand 
might cover it show:, ifi cold white points, and 
the Milky Way is a bet of sharp frosted silver. 
He passed the door where Bonaparte lay dream- 
ing of Trana and her wealth, and he mounted the 
ladder steps. From those he clambered with 
some difficulty on to the roof of the house. It 
was of old rotten thatch with a ridge of white 
plaster, and it crumbled away under his feet at 
every step. He trod as heavily as he could. So 
much the better if he fell. 

He knelt down when he got to the far gable, 
and began to fasten his " reim " to the crumbling 
bricks. Below was the little window of the loft. 
With one end of the " reim " tied round the gable, 
the other end round his waist, how easy to slide 
down to it, and to open it, through one of the 
broken panes, and to go in, and to fill his arms 
with books, and to clamber up again! They 
had burnt one book — he would have twenty. 
Every man's hand was against his — his should 
be against every man's. No one would help him 
— ho. would help himself. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 131 

He lifted the black, damp hair from his knit 
forehead, and looked round to cool his hot face. 
Then he saw what a regal night it was. He knelt 
silently and looked up. A thousand eyes were 
looking down at him, bright and so cold. There 
was a laughing irony in them. 

" So hot, so bitter, so angry ? Poor little 
mortal ! " 

He was ashamed. He folded his arms, and 
sat on the ridge of the roof looking up at them. 

" So hot, so bitter, so angry ? " 

It was as though a cold hand had been laid 
upon his throbbing forehead, and slowly they 
began to fade and grow dim. Tant' Sannie and 
the burnt book, Bonaparte and the broken ma- 
chine, the box in the loft, he himself sitting there 
— how small they all became! Even the grave 
over yonder. Those stars that shone on up above 
so quietly, they had seen a thousand such little 
existences, a thousand such little existences fight 
just so fiercely, flare up just so brightly, and go 
out ; and they, the old, old stars, shone on for- 
ever. 

" So hot, so angry, poor little soul ? " they 
said. 

The " reim " slipped from his fingers ; he sat 
with his arms folded, looking up. 

"We," said the stars, "have seen the earth 
when it was young. We have seen small things 
creep out upon its surface— small things that 
prayed and loved and cried very loudly, and then 
crept under it again. But we," said the -stars, 
w are as old as the Unknown*" 



I3 2 THE STORY OF 

He leaned his chin against the palm of his 
hand and looked up at them. So long he sat 
there that bright stars set and new ones rose, and 
yet he sat on. 

Then at last he stood up, and began to loosen 
the " reim " from the gable. 

What did it matter about the books ? The 
lust and the desire for them had died out. If 
they pleased to keep them from him they might. 
What matter ? it was a very little thing. Why 
hate, and struggle, and fight ? Let it be as it 
would. 

He twisted the " reim " round his arm and 
walked back along the ridge of the house. 

By this time Bonaparte Blenkins had finished 
his dream of Trana, and as he turned himself 
round for a fresh dose he heard the steps descend- 
ing the ladder. His first impulse was to draw 
the blanket over his head and his legs under him, 
and to shout ; but, recollecting that the door was 
locked and the window carefully bolted, he 
allowed his head slowly to crop out among the 
blankets, and listened intently. Whosoever it 
might be, there was no danger of their getting at 
him ; so he clambered out of bed, and going on 
tiptoe to the door, applied his eye to the keyhole. 
There was nothing to be seen ; so walking to the 
window, he brought his face as close to the glass 
as his nose would allow. There was a figure just 
discernible. The lad was not trying to walk 
softly, and the heavy shuffling of the well-known 
*' velschoens " could be clearly heard through 
the closed window as they crossed the stones in 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 133 

the yard. Bonaparte listened till they ad died 
away round the corner of the wagon-house ; and, 
feeling that his bare legs were getting cold, he 
jumped back into bed again. 

"What do you keep up in your loft ? " inquired 
Bonaparte of the Boer-woman the next evening, 
pointing upward and elucidating his meaning by 
the addition of such Dutch words as he knew, for 
the lean Hottentot was gone home. 

" Dried skins," said the Boer-woman, " and 
empty bottles, and boxes, and sacks, and soap." 

" You don't keep any of your provisions there 
—sugar, now ? " said Bonaparte, pointing to the 
sugar-basin and then up at the loft. 

Tant' Sannie shook her head. 

" Only salt, and dried peaches." 

" Dried peaches ! Eh ? " said Bonaparte. 
" Shut the door, my dear child, shut it tight," he 
called out to Em, who stood in the dining-room. 
Then he leaned over the elbow of the sofa and 
brought his face as close as possible to the Boer- 
woman's, and made signs of eating. Then he 
said something she did not comprehend ; then 
said, "Waldo, Waldo, Waldo," pointed up to the 
loft and made signs of eating again. 

Now an inkling of his meaning dawned on the 
Boer-woman's mind. To make it clearer, he 
moved his legs after the manner of one going up 
a ladder, appeared to be opening the door, mas- 
ticated vigorously, said, "Peaches, peaches, 
peaches," and appeared to be coming down the 
ladder. 



I3 4 THE STORY OF 

It was now evident to Tant* Sannie that 
Waldo had been in her loft and eaten her 
peaches. 

To exemplify his own share in the proceedings, 
Bonaparte lay down on the sofa, and shutting his 
eyes tightly, said, " Night, night, night ! " Then 
he sat up wildly, appearing to be intently listen- 
ing, mimicked with his feet the coming down a 
ladder, and looked at Tant' Sannie. This clearly 
showed how, roused in the night, he had discov- 
ered the theft. 

** He must have been a great fool to eat my 
peaches," said Tant' Sannie. " They are full of 
mites as a sheep-skin, and as hard as stones." 

Bonaparte, fumbling in his pocket, did not 
even hear her remark, and took out from his 
coat-tail a little horse-whip, nicely rolled up. 
Bonaparte winked at the little rhinoceros horse- 
whip, at the Boer-woman, and then at the door. 

" Shall we call him— Waldo, Waldo ? " he said. 

Tant' Sannie nodded, and giggled. There 
was something so exceedingly humorous in the 
idea that he was going to beat the boy, though 
for her own part she did not see that the peaches 
Were worth it. When the Kaffir maid came with 
the wash-tub she was sent to summon Waldo ; 
and Bonaparte doubled up the little whip and put , 
it in his pocket. Then he drew himself up, and 
prepared to act his important part with becoming 
gravity. Soon Waldo stood in the door, and 
took off his hat. 

" Come in, come in, my lad," said Bonaparte, 
" and shut the door behind." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 135 

The boy came in and stood before them. 

"You need not be so afraid, child," said Tant* 
Sannie. " I was a child myself once. It's no 
great harm if you have taken a few." 

Bonaparte perceived that her -remark was not 
in keeping with the nature of the proceedings, 
and of the little drama he intended to act. 
Pursing out his lips, and waving his hand, he 
solemnly addressed the boy, — 

" Waldo, it grieves me beyond expression to 
have to summon you for so painful a purpose ; 
but it is at the imperative call of duty, which I 
dare not evade. I do not state that frank and 
unreserved confession will obviate the necessity 
of chastisement, which if requisite shall be fully 
administered; but the nature of that chastisement 
may be mitigated by free and humble confession. 
Waldo, answer me as you would your own father, 
in whose place I now stand to you : have you, or 
have you not, did you, or did you not, eat of the 
peaches in the loft ? " 

" Say you took them, boy, say you took them, 
then he won't beat you much," said the Dutch- 
woman good-naturedly, getting a little sorry for 
him. 

The boy raised his eyes slowly and fixed them 
vacantly upon her, then suddenly his face grew 
dark with blood. 

" So, you haven't got anything to say to us, my 
lad ? " said Bonaparte, momentarily forgetting his 
dignity, and bending forward with a little snarl. 
" But what I mean is just this, my lad — when it 
takes a boy three-quarters of an hour to fill a 



I 3 6 THE STORY OF 

salt-pot, and when at three o'clock in the morning 
he goes knocking about the doors of a loft, it's 
natural to suppose there's mischief in it. It's 
certain there is mischief in it ; and where there's 
mischief in it must be taken out" said Bonaparte, 
grinning into the boy's face. Then, feeling that 
he had fallen from that high gravity which was 
as spice to the pudding, and the flavor of 
the whole little tragedy, he drew himself up. 
" Waldo," he said, " confess to me instantly, and 
without reserve, that you ate the peaches," 

The boy's face was white now. His eyes were 
on the ground, his hands doggedly clasped 
before him. 

" What, do you not intend to answer ? " 

The boy looked up at them once from under 
his bent eyebrows, and then looked down again. 

" The creature looks as if all the devils in hell 
were in it," cried Tant' Sannie. " Say you 
took them, boy. Young things will be young 
things ; I was older than you when I used to 
eat 'bultong* in my mother's loft, and get 
the little niggers whipped for it. Say -you took 
them." 

But the boy said nothing. 

" I think a little solitary confinement might 
perhaps be beneficial," said Bonaparte. " It will 
enable you, Waldo, to reflect on the enormity of 
the sin you have committed against our Father 
in heaven. And you may also think of the sub' 
mission you owe to those who are older and wiser 
than you are, and whose duty it is to check and 
correct you." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 137 

Saying this, Bonaparte stood up and took down 
the key of the fuel-house, which hung on a naiL 
against the wall. 

" Walk on, my boy," said Bonaparte, pointing 
to the door ; and as he followed him out he drew 
his mouth expressively on one side, and made 
the lash of the little horsewhip stick out of his 
pocket and shake up and down. 

Tant' Sannie felt half sorry for the lad ; but 
she could not help laughing, it was always so 
funny when one was going to have a whipping, 
and it would do him good. Anyhow he would 
forget all about it when the places were healed^ 
Had not she been beaten many times and been 
all the better for it? 

Bonaparte took up a lighted candle that had 
been left burning on the kitchen table, and told 
the boy to walk before him. They went to the 
fuel-house. It was a little stone erection that 
jutted out from the side of the wagon-house. It 
was low, and without a window ; and the dried 
dung was piled in one corner, and the coffee-mill 
stood in another, fastened on the top of a short 
post about three feet high. Bonaparte took the 
padlock off the rough door. 

" Walk in, my lad," he said. 

Waldo obeyed sullenly ; one place to him was 
much the same as ^another. He had no objection 
to being locked up. 

Bonaparte followed him in, and closed the door 
carefully. He put the light down on the heap of 
dung in the corner, and quietly introduced his 
hand under his coat-tails, and drew slowly from 



138 THE STORY OP 

his pocket the end of a rope, which he concealed 
behind him. 

" I'm very sorry, exceedingly sorry, Waldo, my 
lad, that you should have acted in this manner. 
It grieves me," said Bonaparte. 

He moved round toward the boy's back. He 
hardly liked the look in the fellow's eyes, though 
he stood there motionless. If he should spring 
on him ! 

So he drew the rope out very carefully, and 
shifted round to the wooden post. There was a 
slip-knot in one end of the rope, and a sudden 
^movement drew the boy's hands to his back and 
passed it round them. It was an instant's work 
to drag it twice round the wooden post: then Bon- 
aparte was safe. 

For a moment the boy struggled to free him- 
self ; then he knew that he was powerless, and 
stood still. 

" Horses that kick must have their legs tied," 
said Bonaparte, as he passed the other end of the 
rope round the boy's knees. " And now, my 
dear Waldo," taking the whip out of his pocket, 
" I am going to beat you." 

He paused for a moment. It was perfectly 
quiet ; they could hear each other's breath. 

" ' Chasten thy son while there is hope,' " said 
Bonaparte, " ' and let not thy soul spare for his 
crying.' Those are God's words. I shall act as 
a father to you, Waldo. I think we had better 
have your naked back."'. 

He took out his penknife, and slit the shirt 
down from the shoulder to the waist. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 139 

« Now," said Bonaparte, "I hope the Lord will 
bless and sanctify to you what I am going to do 

to The "first outran from the shoulder across the 
middle of the back ; the second fell exactly m the 
Tame place. A shudder passed through the boy s 

^Nice eh?" said Bonaparte, peeping round 
into his face, speaking with a lisp, as though to a 
very little child. "Nith y eh? : . . 

But the eyes were black and lusterless, and 
seemed not to see him. When he had given six- 
^Bonaparte paused in his. work to wipe a 
little drop of blood from his whip. 

"Cold eh? What makes you shiver so ? 
Perhaps'you would like to pull up your shirt? 
But I've not quite done yet." 

When he had finished he wiped the whip again, 
and put it back in his pocket. He cut the rope 
through with his penknife, and then took up the 

Ug "You don't seem to have found your tongue 
yet. Forgotten how to cry?" said Bonaparte, 
patting him on the cheek. 

The boy looked up at him— not sullenly, not 
angrily. There was a wild, fitful terror in the 
eyes. Bonaparte made haste to go out and shut 
the door, and leave him alone m the darkness. 
He himself was afraid of that look. 

It was almost morning. "Waldo lay 'S^S? 

fee upon the ground at the foot of the fuel-heap. 



140 THE STORY OF 

There was a round hole near the top of the door, 
where a knot of wood had fallen out, and a 
stream of gray light came in through it. 

Ah, it was going to end at last ! Nothing lasts 
forever, not even the light. How was it he had 
never thought of that before ? For in all that 
long dark night he had been very strong, had 
never been tired, never felt pain, had run on and 
on, up and down, up and down ; he had not dared 
to stand still, and he had not known it would end. 
He had been so strong, that when he struck his 
head with all his force upon the stone wall it did 
not stun him nor pain him — only made him laugh. 
That was a dreadful night. When he clasped 
his hands frantically and prayed — " Oh, God, my 
beautiful God, my sweet God, once, only once, 
let me feel You near me to-night ! " he could not 
feel Him. He prayed aloud, very loud, and he 
got no answer ; when he listened it was all quite 
quiet — like when the priests of Baal cried aloud 
to their god—" Oh, Baal, hear us ! Oh, Baal, 
hear us ! " but Baal was gone a-hunting. 

That was a long wild night, and wild thoughts 
came and went in it ; but they left their marks 
behind them forever : for, as years cannot pass 
without leaving their traces behind them, neither 
can nights into which are forced the thoughts and 
sufferings of years. And now the dawn was coming, 
and at last he was very tired. He shivered, and 
tried to draw the shirt up over his shoulders. 
They were getting stiff. He had never known 
they were cut in the night. He looked up at the 
white light that came in through the hole at the 



A AT AFRICAN- FARM. 141 

top of the door and shuddered. Then he turned 
his face back to the ground and slept again. 

Some hours later Bonaparte came toward the 
fuel-house with a lump of bread in his hand. He 
opened the door and peered in; then entered, 
and touched the fellow with his boot. Seeing 
that he breathed heavily, though he did not rouse, 
Bonaparte threw the bread down on the ground. 
He was alive, that was one thing. He bent over 
him, and carefully scratched open one of the cuts 
with the nail of his forefinger, examining witli 
much interest his last night's work. He would 
have to count his sheep himself that day ; the boy 
was literally cut up. He locked the door and 
went away again. 

"Oh, Lyndall," said Em, entering the dining- 
room, and bathed in tears, that afternoon, " I have 
been begging Bonaparte to let him out, and he 
won't." 

" The more you beg the more he will not,' 7 said 
Lyndall. 

She was cutting out aprons on the table. 

" Oh, but it's late, and I think they want to kill 
him," said Em, weeping bitterly ; and finding 
that no more consolation was to be gained from 
her cousin, she went off blubbering — " I wonder 
you can cut out aprons when Waldo is shut up 
like that." 

For ten minutes after she was gone Lyndall 
worked on quietly ; then she folded up her stuff, 
rolled it tightly together, and stood before the 
closed door of the sitting-room with her hands 
closely clasped. A flush rose to her face ; she 



142 THE STORY OF 

opened the door quickly, and walked in, went to 
the nail on which the key of the fuel-room hung. 
Bonaparte and Tant' Sannie sat there and saw 
her. 

" What do you want ? " they asked together. 

" This key," she said, holding it up, and look 
%"Jg at them. 

"Do you mean her to have it?" said Tant* 
Sannie, in Dutch. 

" Why don't you stop her ? " asked Bonaparte, 
in English. 

" Why don't you take it from her ? " said Tant* 
Sannie. 

So they looked at each other, talking, while 
Lyndall walked to the fuel-house with the key, 
her underlip bitten in. 

" Waldo," she said, as she helped him to stand 
up, and twisted his arm about her waist to sup- 
port him, " we will not be children always ; we 
shall have the power too, some day." She kissed 
his naked shoulder with her soft little mouth. 
It was all the comfort her young soul could give 
him. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

HE MAKES LOVE. 

M Here," said Tant' Sannie to her Hottentot 
maid, " I have been in this house four years, and 
never been up in the loft. Fatter women than I 
go up ladders ; I will go up to-day and see what 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 143 

it is like, and put it to rights up there. You bring 
the little ladder, and stand at the bottom. 

"There's one would be sorry if you were to 
fall," said the Hottentot maid, leering at Bona- 
parte's pipe, that lay on the table. 

«' Hold your tongue, jade," said her mistress 
trying to conceal a pleased smile, " and go and 
fetch the ladder." 

There was a never-used trap-door at one end ot 
the sitting-room ; this the Hottentot maid pushed 
open, and setting the ladder against it, the Boer- 
woman with some danger and difficulty climbed 
into the loft. Then the Hottentot maid took the 
ladder away, as her husband was mending the 
wagon-house and needed it, but. the trap-door was 

left open. , , 

For a little while Tanf Sannie poked about 
among the empty bottles and skins, and looked 
at the bag of peaches that Waldo was supposed 
to have liked so ; then she sat down near the 
trap-door beside a barrel of salt mutton She 
found that the pieces of meat were much too large, 
and took out her clasp-knife to divide them 

That was always the way when one left things 
to servants, she grurabled to herself ; but when 
once she was married to her husband Bonaparte 
it would not matter whether a sheep spoiled or 
no— when once his rich aunt with the dropsy was 
dead. She smiled as she dived her hand into 
the pickle-water. 

At that instant her niece entered the room be* 
low, closely followed by Bonaparte, with his head 
on one side, smiling mawkishly. Had 7 ant 



144 THE STORY OF 

Sannie spoken at that moment the life of Bona- 
parte Blenkins would have run a wholly different 
course ; as it was, she remained silent, and neither 
noticed the open trap-door above their heads. 

" Sit there, my love," said Bonaparte, motion- 
ing Trana into her aunt's elbow-chair, and draw- 
ing another close up in front of it, in which he 
seated himself. " There, put your feet upon 
the stove too. Your aunt has gone out some- 
where. Long have I waited for this auspicious 
event ! " 

Trana, who understood not one word of English, 
sat down in the chair and wondered if this was 
on& of the strange customs of other lands, that 
an old gentleman may bring his chair up to yours, 
and sit with his knees touching you. She had 
been five days in Bonaparte's company, and 
feared the old man, and disliked his nose. 

" How long have I desired this moment ! " said 
Bonaparte. " But that aged relative of thine is 
always casting her unhallowed shadow upon us. 
Look into my eyes, Trana." 

Bonaparte knew that she comprehended not a 
syllable ; but he understood that it is the eye, the 
tone, the action, and not a* all the rational word, 
that touches the love-chords. He saw she 
changed color. 

" All night," said Bonaparte, " I lie awake ; 
I see naught but thy angelic countenance. I 
open my arms to receive thee — where art thou, 
where ? Thou art not there ! " said Bonaparte, 
suiting the action to the words, and spreading 
out his arms and drawing them to his breast. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 145 

" Oh, please, I don't understand," said Trana. 
u I want to go away." 

" Yes, yes," said Bonaparte, leaning back in 
his chair, to her great relief, and pressing his 
hands on his heart, " since first thy amethystine 
countenance was impressed here — what have I 
not suffered, what have I not felt? Oh, the 
pangs unspoken, burning as an ardent coal in a 
fiery and uncontaminated bosom ! " said Bona- 
parte, bending forward again. 

" Dear Lord ! " said Trana to herself, " how 
foolish I have been ! The old man has a pain in 
his stomach, and now, as my aunt is out, he has 
come to me to help him." 

She smiled kindly at Bonaparte, and pushing 
past him, went to the bedroom, quickly returning 
with a bottle of red drops in her hand. 

" They are very good for ' benaawdheit ; ' my 
mother always drinks them," she said, holding 
the bottle out. 

The face in the trap-door was a fiery red. Like 
a tiger-cat ready to spring, Tant' Sannie crouched, 
with the shoulder of mutton in her hand. Exactly 
beneath .her stood Bonaparte. She rose and 
clasped with both arms the barrel of salt meat. 

"What, rose of the desert, nightingale of the 
colony, that with thine amorous lay whilest the 
lonesome night ! " cried Bonaparte, seizing the 
hand that held the " vonlicsense." " Nay, strug- 
gle not ! Fly as a stricken fawn into the arms 
that would embrace thee, thou " 

Here a stream of cold pickle-water, heavy wit! 
ribs and shoulders, descending on his head 

10 



I 4 6 THE STORY OF 

abruptly terminated his speech. Half-blinded, 
Bonaparte looked up through the drops that 
hung from his eyelids, and saw the red face that 
looked down at him. With one wild cry he fled. 
As he passed out at the front door a shoulder of 
mutton, well directed, struck the black coat in 
the small of the back. 

" Bring the ladder ! bring the ladder ! I will 
go after him ! " cried the Boer-woman, as Bona- 
parte Blenkins wildly fled into the fields. 



Late in the evening of the same day Waldo 
knelt on the floor of his cabin. He bathed the 
foot of his dog which had been pierced by a 
thorn. The bruises on his own back had had 
five days to heal in, and, except a little stiffness 
in his movements, there was nothing remarkable 
about the boy. 

The troubles of the young are soon over ; they 
leave no external mark. If you wound the tree 
in its youth the bark will quickly cover the 
gash ; but when the tree is very old, peeling 
the bark off, and looking carefully, you will see 
the scar there still. All that is buried is not 
dead. 

Waldo poured the warm milk over the little 
swollen foot ; Doss lay very quiet, with tears in 
his eyes. Then there was a tap at the door. In 
an instant Doss looked wide awake, and winked 
the tears out from between his little lids. 

" Come in," said Waldo, intent on his workj 
and slowly and cautiously the door opened. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 147 

"Good-evening, Waldo, my boy," said Bona- 
parte Blenkins in a mild voice, not venturing 
more than his nose within the door. " How are 
you this evening ? " 

Doss growled and showed his little teeth, and 
tried to rise, but his paw hurt him so he whined. 

" I'm very tired, Waldo, my boy," said Bona- 
parte plaintively. 

Doss showed his little white teeth again. His 
master went on with his work without looking 
round. There are some people at whose hands 
it is best not to look. At last he said, 

" Come in." 

Bonaparte stepped cautiously a little way into 
the room, and left the door open behind him. 
He looked at the boy's supper on the table. 

" Waldo, I've had nothing to eat all day— I'm 
very hungry," he said. 

" Eat ! " said W r aldo after a moment, bending 
lower over his dog. 

" You won't go and tell her that I am here, 
will you, Waldo ? " said Bonaparte most uneasily. 
" You've heard how she used me, Waldo? I've 
been badly treated ; you'll know yourself what it 
is some day when you can't carry on a little con- 
versation with a lady without having salt meat 
and pickle-water thrown at you. Waldo, look at 
me ; do I look as a gentleman should ? " 

But the boy neither looked up nor answerer 1 
and Bonaparte grew more uneasy. 

" You wouldn't go and tell her that I am here, 
would you ? " said Bonaparte, whiningly. " There's 
no knowing what she would do to me. I've such 



148 THE STORY OF 

trust in you, Waldo ; I've always thought you 
such a promising lad, though you mayn't have 
known it, Waldo." 

" Eat," said the boy, " I shall say nothing." 

Bonaparte, who knew the truth when another 
spoke it, closed the door, carefully putting on the 
button. Then he looked io see that the curtain 
of the window was closely pulled down, and 
seated himself at the table. He was soon munch- 
ing the cold meat and bread. Waldo knelt on 
the floor, bathing the foot with hands which the 
dog licked lovingly. Once only he glanced at 
the table, and turned away quickly. 

" Ah, yes ! I don't wonder that you can't look 
at me, Waldo," said Bonaparte : " my condition 
would touch any heart. You see, the water was 
fatty, and that has made all the sand stick to me ; 
and my hair," said Bonaparte, tenderly touching 
the little fringe at the back of his head, " is all 
caked over like a little plank : you wouldn't think 
it was hair at all," said Bonaparte, plaintively. 
" I had to creep all along the stone walls for fear 
she'd see me, and with nothing on my head but 
a red handkerchief tied under, my chin, Waldo ; 
and to hide in a ' sloot ' the whole day, with not a 
mouthful of food, Waldo. And she gave me such 
a blow, just here," said Bonaparte. 

He had cleared the plate of the last morsel, 
when Waldo rose and walked to the door. 

" Oh, Waldo, my dear boy, you are not going 
to call her," said Bonaparte, rising anxiously. 

" I am going to sleep in the wagon," said the 
boy, opening the door. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 1 49 

" Oh, we can both sleep in this bed : there's 
plenty of room. Do stay, my boy, please." 

But Waldo stepped out. 

"It was such a little whip, Waldo," said Bona- 
parte, following him deprecatingly. " I didn't 
think it would hurt you so much. It was such a 
little whip. I'm sure you didn't take the peaches. 
You aren't going to call her, Waldo, are you ? " 

But the boy walked off. . 

Bonaparte waited till his figure had passed 
round the front of the wagon-house, and then 
slipped out. He hid himself round the corner, 
but kept peeping out to see who was coming. He 
felt sure the boy was gone to call Tant' Sannie. 
His teeth chattered with inward cold as he looked 
round into the darkness, and thought of the snakes 
that might bite him, and the dreadful things that 
might attack him, and the dead that might arise 
out of their graves if he slept out in the field all 
night. But more than an hour passed, and no 
footstep approached. 

Then Bonaparte made his way back to the 
cabin. He buttoned the door and put the table 
against it, and, giving the dog a kick to silence 
his whining when the foot throbbed, he climbed 
into bed. He did not put out the light for fear 
of the ghost, but, worn out with the sorrows of 
the day, was soon asleep himself. 

About four o'clock. Waldo, lying between the 
seats of the horse-wagon, was awakened by a 
gentle touch on his head. 

Sitting up, he espied Bonaparte looking through 
one of the windows with a lighted candle in his 
hand. 



15° 



THE STORY OF 



" I'm about to depart, my dear boy, before my 
enemies arise ; and I could not leave without 
coming to bid you farewell," said Bonaparte. 

Waldo looked at him. 

" I shall always think of you with affection," 
said Bonaparte. " And there's that old hat of 
yours, if you could let me have it for a keep- 
sake " 

"Take it," said Waldo. 

" I thought you would say so, so I brought it 
with me," said Bonaparte, putting it on. "The 
Lord bless you, my dear boy. You haven't a 
few shillings — just a trifle you don't need — have 
you ? " 

" Take the two shillings that are in the broken 
vase." 

" May the blessing of my God rest upon you, 
my dear child," said Bonaparte ; " may He guide 
and bless you. Give me your hand." 

Waldo folded his arms closely, and lay down. 

" Farewell, adieu ! " said Bonaparte. " May 
the blessing of my God and my father's God rest 
on you, now and evermore." 

With these words the head and nose withdrew 
themselves, and the light vanished from the win- 
dow. 

After a few moments the boy, lying in the 
wagon, heard stealthy footsteps as they passed 
the wagon-house and made their way down the 
road. He listened as they grew fainter and 
fainter, and at last died away altogether ; and 
from that night the footstep of Bonaparte Blenkins 
was heard no more at the old farm. 



Part II. 



H And it was all play, and no one could tell what it had 
Hived and worked for. A striving, and a striving, and an 
ending in nothing*" 



CHAPTER I. 

TIMES AND SEASONS. 

Waldo lay on his stomach on the sand. Since 
he prayed and howled to his God in the fuel- 
house three years had passed. 

They say that in the world to come time is not 
measured out by months and years. Neither is 
it here. The soul's life has seasons of its own ; 
periods not found in any calendar, times that 
years and months will not scan, but which are as 
deftly and sharply cut off from one another as 
the smoothly arranged years which the earth's 
motion yields us. 

To stranger eyes these divisions are not evi- 
dent ; but each,' looking back at the little track 
his consciousness illuminates, sees it cut into dis- 

15* 



152 THE STORY OP 

tinct portions, whose boundaries are the termina- 
tion of mental states. 

As man differs from man, so differ these souls' 
years. The most material life is not devoid of 
them ; the story of the most spiritual is told in 
them. And it may chance that some, looking 
back, see the past cut out after this fashion : 



The year of infancy, where from the shadowy 
background of forgetfulness start out pictures of 
startling clearness, disconnected, but brightly 
colored, and indelibly printed in the mind. 
Much that follows fades, but the colors of those 
baby-pictures are permanent. 

There rises, perhaps, a warm summer's even- 
ing ; we are seated on the doorstep ; we have yet 
the taste of the bread and milk in our mouth, 
and the red sunset is reflected in our basin. 

Then there is a dark night where, waking with 
a fear that there is some great being in the 
room, we run from our own bed to another, creep 
close to some large figure, and are comforted. 

Then there is remembrance of the pride when, 
on some one's shoulder, with our arms around 
their head, we ride to see the little pigs, the new 
little pigs with their curled tails and tiny snouts 
■ — where do they come from ? 

Remembrance of delight in the feel and smell 
of the first orange we ever see ; of sorrow which 
makes us put up our lip, and cry hard, when one 
morning we run out to try and catch the dew- 
drops, and they melt and wet our little fingers ; 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 153 

of almighty and despairing sorrow when we are 
lost behind the kraals, and cannot see the house 
anywhere. 

And then one picture starts out more vividly 
than any. 

There has been a thunder-storm ; the ground, 
as far as the eye can reach, is covered with white 
hail ; the clouds are gone, and overhead a deep 
blue sky is showing ; far off a great rainbow rests 
on the white earth. • We, standing in a window 
to look, feel the cool, unspeakably sweet wind 
blowing in on us, and a feeling of longing comes 
over us — unutterable longing, we cannot tell for 
what. We are so small, our head only reaches 
as high as the first three panes. We look at the 
white earth, and the rainbow, and the blue sky; 
and oh, we want it, we want — we do not know 
what. We cry as though our heart was broken. 
When one lifts our little body from the window 
we cannot tell what ails us. We run away to play. 

So looks the first year. 

II. 

Now the pictures become continuous and con- 
nected. Material things still rule, but the spirit- 
ual and intellectual take their places. 

In the dark night when we are afraid we pray 
and shut our eyes. We press our fingers very 
hard upon the lids, and see dark spots moving 
round and round, and we know they are heads 
and wings of angels sent to take care of us, seen 
dimly in the dark as they move round our bed. 
It is very consoling. 



154 THE STORY OF 

In the day we learn our letters, and are troubled 
because we cannot see why k-n-o-w should be 
know, and p-s-a-1-m psalm. They tell us it is 
because it is so. We are not satisfied ; we hate 
to learn ; we like better to build little stone 
houses. We can build them as we please, and 
know the reason for them. 

Other joys too we have incomparably greater 
than even the building of stone houses. 

We are run through with a shudder of delight 
when in the red sand we come on one of those 
white wax flowers that lie between their two green 
leaves flat on the sand. We hardly dare pick 
them, but we feel compelled to do so ; and we 
smell and smell till the delight becomes almost 
pain. Afterward we pull the green leaves 
softly into pieces to see the silk threads run 
across. 

Beyond the " kopje " grow some pale-green, 
hairy-leaved bushes. We are so small, they meet 
over our head ; and we sit among them, and kiss 
them, and they love us back ; it seems as though 
they were alive. 

One day we sit there and look up at the blue 
sky, and down at our fat little knees ; and 
suddenly it strikes us, Who are we ? This 7, 
what is it ? We try to look in upon ourself, and 
ourself beats back upon ourself. Then we get 
up in great fear and run home as hard as we can. 
We can't tell any one what frightened us. We 
never quite lose that feeling of self again. 



AN AFRICA N FARM. 155 

III. 

And then a new time rises. We are seven 
years old. We can read now — read the Bible. 
Best of all we like the story of Elijah in his cave 
at Horeb, and the still small voice. 

One day, a notable one, we read on the " kopje " 
and discover the fifth chapter of Matthew, and 
read it all through. It is a new gold-mine. 
Then we tuck the Bible under our arm and rush 
home. They didn't know it was wicked to take 
your things again if some one took them, wicked 

to go to law, wicked to ! We are quite 

breathless when we get to the house; we tell 
them we have discovered a chapter they never 
heard of ; we tell them what it says. The old 
wise people tell us they knew all about it. Our 
discovery is a mare's-nest to them ; but to us it is 
very real. The ten commandments and the old 
" Thou shalt " we have heard about long enough, 
and don't care about it ; but this new law sets 
us on fire. We will deny ourself. Our little 
wagon that we have made, we give to the little 
Kaffirs. We keep quiet when they throw sand 
at us (feeling, oh, so happy). We conscientiously 
put the cracked teacup for ourselves at break- 
fast, and take the burnt roaster-cake. We save 
our money, and buy threepence of tobacco for 
the Hottentot maid who calls us names. We are 
exotically virtuous. At night we are profoundly 
religious; even the ticking watch says, "Eternity, 
eternity ! hell, hell, hell ! " and the silence talks 
©f God, and the things that shall be. 



1 50 THE STORY OF 

Occasionally, also, unpleasantly shrewd ques- 
tions begin to be asked by some one, we know 
not who, who sits somewhere behind our shoulder. 
We get to know him better afterward. Now we 
carry the questions to the grown-up people, and 
they give us answers. We are more or less 
satisfied for the time. The grown-up people are 
very wise, and they say it was kind of God to 
make hell, and very loving of Him to send men 
there; and besides, He couldn't help Himself; 
and they are very wise, we think, so we believe 
them — more or less. 

IV. 

Then a new time comes, of which the leading 
feature is, that the shrewd questions are asked 
louder. We carry them to the grown-up people ; 
they answer us, and we are not satisfied. 

And now between us and the dear old world ot 
the senses the spirit-world begins to peep in, and 
wholly clouds it over. W T hat are the flowers to us ? 
They are fuel waiting for the great burning. We 
look at the- walls of the farm-house and the matter- 
of-fact sheep-kraals, with the merry sunshine 
playing over all ; and do not see it. But we see 
a great white throne, and Him that sits on it 
Around Him stand a great multitude that no man 
can number, harpers harping with their harps, a 
thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of 
thousands. How white are their robes, washed 
in the blood of the Lamb ! And the music rises 
higher, and rends the vault of heaven with its 
unutterable sweetness. And we, as we listen, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



*57 



ever and anon, as it sinks on the sweetest, lowest 
note, hear a groan of the damned from below. 
We shudder in the sunlight. 

" The torment," said Jeremy Taylor, whose 
sermons our father reads aloud in the evening, 
" comprises as many torments as the body of man 
has joints, sinews, arteries, etc., being caused by 
that penetrating and real fire of which this tem- 
poral fire is but a painted fire. What comparison 
will there be between burning for a hundred 
years' space and to be burning without intermis- 
sion as long as God is God ! " 

We remember the sermon there in the sunlight. 
One comes and asks why we sit there nodding so 
moodily. Ah, they do not see what we see. 

" A moment's time, a narrow space, 
Divides me from that heavenly place, 

Or shuts me up in hell." ( 

So says Wesley's hymn, which we sing evening 
by evening. What matter sunshine and walls, 
men and sheep ? 

" The things which are seen are temporal, but 
the things which are not seen are eternal." They 
are real. 

The Bible we bear always in our breast ; its 
pages are our food ; we learn to repeat it ; we 
weep much, for in sunshine and in shade, in the 
early morning or the late evening, in the field or 
in the house, the Devil walks with us. He comes 
to us a real person, copper-colored face, head a 
little on one side, forehead knit, asking questions. 
Believe me, it were better to be followed by three 



158 THE STORY OF 

deadly diseases than by him. He is never 
silenced — without mercy. Though the drops of 
blood stand out on your heart he will put his 
question. Softly he comes up (we are only a wee 
bit child) ; "Is it good of God to make hell? 
Was it kind of Him to let no one be forgiven 
unless Jesus Christ died ? " 

Then he goes off, and leaves us writhing. 
Presently he comes back. 

" Do you love Him ? " — waits a little. " Do 
you love Him ? You will be lost if you don't." 

We say we try to. 

" But do you ? " Then he goes off. 

It is nothing to him if we go quite mad with 
fear at our own wickedness. He asks on, the 
questioning Devil ; he cares nothing what he says. 
We long to tell some one, that they may share 
our pain. We do not yet know that the cup oi 
affliction is made with such a narrow mouth that 
only one lip can drink at a time, and that each 
man's cup is made to match his lip. 

One day we try to tell some one. Then a grave 
head is shaken solemnly at us. We are wicked, 
very wicked, they say ; we ought not to have such 
thoughts. God is good, very good. We are 
wicked, very wicked. That is the comfort we 
get. Wicked ! Oh, Lord ! do we not know it ? 
Is it not the sense of our own exceeding 
wickedness that is drying up our young heart, 
filling it with sand, making all life a dust-bin for 
us ? 

Wicked ? We know it ! Too vile to live, too 
vile to die, too vile to creep over this, God's earth, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 159 

and move among his believing men. Hell is the 
one place for him who hates his master, and 
there* we do not want to go. This is the comfort 
we get from the old. 

And once again we try to seek for comfort. 
This time great eyes look at us wondering, and 
lovely little lips say, — • 

" If it makes you sc»unhappy to think of these 
things, why do you not think of something else, 
and forget ? " 

Forget ! We turn away and shrink into our- 
self. Forget and think of other things! Oh, 
God ! do they not understand that the material 
world is but a film, through every pore of which 
God's awful spirit-world is shining through on 
us ? We keep as far from others as we can. 

One night, a rare, clear moonlight night, we kneel 
in the window ; every one else is asleep, but we 
kneel reading by the moonlight. It is a chapter 
in the prophets, telling how the chosen people of 
God shall be carried on the Gentiles' shoulders. 
Surely the Devil might leave us alone ; there is 
not much handle for him there. But presently 
he comes. 

" Is it right there should be a chosen people ? 
To him, who is father to all, should not all be 
dear ? " 

How can we answer him ? We were feeling, so 
good till he came. We put our head down on 
the Bible and blister it with tears. Then we fold 
our hands over our head and pray, till our teeth 
grind together. Oh, that from that spirit-world, 
so real and yet so silent, that surrounds us, one 



160 THE STORY OF 

world would come to guide us ! We are left 
alone with this Devil ; and God does not whisper 
to us. Suddenly we seize the Bible, turning it 
round and round, and say hurriedly, — 

" It will be God's voice speaking to us ; His 
voice as though we heard it." 

We yearn for a token from the inexorably 
Silent One. i 

We turn the book, put our finger down on a 
page, and bend to read by the moonlight. It is 
God's answer. We tremble. 

" Then fourteen years after I went up again to 
Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me 
also." 

For an instant our imagination seizes it ; we 
are twisting, twirling, trying to make an allegory. 
The fourteen years are fourteen months ; we are 

Paul and the Devil is Barnabas, Titus is ■ 

Then a sudden loathing comes to us : we are liars 
and hypocrites, we are trying to deceive ourselves. 
What is Paul to us — and Jerusalem ? Who are 
Barnabas and Titus ? We know not the men. 
Before we know we seize the book, swing it 
c round our head, and fling it with all our might to 
the farther end of the room. We put down our 
head again and weep. Youth and ignorance ; is 
there anything else that can weep so ? It is as 
though the tears were drops of blood congealed 
beneath the eyelids ; nothing else is like those 
tears. After a long time we are weak with crying, 
and lie silent, and by chance we knock against 
the wood that stops the broken pane. It falls. 
Upon our hot stiff face a sweet breath of wind 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 161 

blows. We raise our head, and with our swollen 
eyes look out at the beautiful still world, and the 
sweet night-wind blows in upon us, holy and 
gentle, like a loving breath from the lips of God. 
Over us a deep peace comes, a calm, still joy ; 
the tears now flow readily and softly. Oh, the 
unutterable gladness ! At last, at last we have 
found it! " The peace with God.". " The sense 
of sins forgiven" All doubt vanished, God's 
voice in the soul, the Holy Spirit filling us ! We 
feel Him ! we feel Him ! Oh, Jesus Christ ! 
through You, through You this joy ! We press 
our hands upon our breast and look upward with 
adoring gladness. Soft waves of bliss break 
through us. " The peace with God." " The sense 
of sins forgiven." Methodists and Revivalists 
say the words, and the mocking world shoots 
out its lip, and walks by smiling — " Hypocrite ! " 

There are more fools and fewer hypocrites 
than the wise world dreams of. The hypocrite 
is rare as icebergs in the tropics ; the fool 
common as butter-cups beside a water-furrow : 
whether you go this way or that you tread on him ; 
you dare not look at your own reflection in the 
water but you see one. There is no cant phrase, 
rotten with age, but it was the dress of a living 
body ; none but at heart it signifies a real bodily 
or mental condition which some have passed 
through. 

After hours and nights of frenzied fear of the 

supernatural desire to appease the power above, 

a fierce quivering excitement in every inch of 

nerve and blood-vessel, there comes a time when 

ft 



l62 THE STORY OF 

nature cannot endure longer, and the spring long 
bent recoils. We sink down emasculated. Up 
creeps the deadly delicious calm. 

" I have blotted out as a cloud thy sins, and 
as a thick cloud thy trespasses, and will remem- 
ber them no more forever." We weep with soft 
transporting joy. 

A few experience this ; many imagine they ex- 
perience it ; one here and there lies about it. In 
the main, " The peace w T ith God ; a sense of sins 
forgiven," stands for a certain mental and physi- 
cal reaction. Its reality those know who have 
felt it. 

And we, on that moonlight night, put down our 
head on the window, " Oh, God ! we are happy, 
happy ! Thy child forever. Oh, thank You, 
God ! " and we drop asleep. 

Next morning the Bible we kiss. We are 
God's forever. We go out to work, and it goes 
happily all day, happily all night ; but hardly so 
happily, not happily at all, the next day ; and the 
next night the Devil asks us, " Where is your 
Holy Spirit ? " 

We cannot tell. 

So month by month, summer and winter, the 
old life goes on — reading, praying, weeping, pray* 
ing. They tell us we become utterly stupid. 
We know it. Even the multiplication table we 
learnt with so much care we forget. The physi- 
cal world recedes further and further from us. 
Truly we love not the world, neither the things 
that are in it. Across the bounds of sleep our 
grief follows us. When we wake in the night we 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 1 63 

are sitting up in bed weeping bitterly, or find 
ourself outside in the moonlight, dressed, and 
walking up and down, and wringing our hands, 
and we cannot tell how we come there. So pass 
two years, as men reckon them. 

V. 

Then a new time. 

Before us there were three courses possible^ 
to go mad, to die, to sleep. 

. We take the latter course ; or nature takes it 
for us. 

All things take rest in sleep ; the beasts, birds, 
the very flowers close their eyes, and the streams 
are still in winter ; all things take rest ; then why 
not the human reason also ? So the questioning 
Devil in us drops asleep, and in that sleep a 
beautiful dream rises for us. Though you hear 
all the dreams of men, you will hardly find a 
prettier one than ours. It ran so : 

In the center of all things is a Mighty Heart, 
which, having begotten all things, loves them ; 
and having born them into life, beats with great 
throbs of love toward them. No death for His 
dear insects, no hell for His dear men, no burn- 
ing up for His dear world — His own, own world 
that He has made. In the end all will be beauti- 
ful. Do not ask us how we make our dream 
tally with facts; the glory of a dream is this — - 
that it despises facts, and makes its own. Our 
dream saves us from going mad ; that is enough. 

Its peculiar point of sweetness lay here. When 
the Mighty Heart's yearning of love became too 



164 THE STORY OF 

great for other expression, it shaped itself into 
the sweet Rose of heaven, the beloved Man-god. 

Jesus ! you Jesus of our dream ! how we loved 
you ; no Bible tells of you as we knew you. 
Your sweet hands held ours fast ; your sweet 
voice said always, " I am here, my loved one, not 
far off ; put your arms about Me, and hold fast." 

We find Him in everything in those days. 
When the little^weary lamb we drive home drags 
its feet, we seize on it, and carry it with its head 
against our face. His little lamb ! We feel we 
have got Him. 

When the drunken Kaffir lies by the road in 
the sun we draw his blanket over his head, and 
put green branches of milk-bush on it. His 
Kaffir ; why should the sun hurt him ? 

In the evening, when the clouds lift themselves 
like gates, and the red lights shine through them, 
we cry ; for in such glory He will come, and the 
hands that ache to touch Him will hold Him, and 
we shall see the beautiful hair and eyes of our 
God. " Lift up your heads, O ye gates ; and be 
ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and our King 
of glory shall come in ! " 

' The purple flowers, the little purple flowers, are 
His eyes, looking at us. We kiss them, and 
kneel alone on the flat, rejoicing over them. And 
the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad 
for Him, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom 
as a rose. 

If ever in our tearful, joyful ecstasy the poor 
sleepy, half-dead Devil should raise his head, we 
laugh at him. It is not his hour now. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 165 

" If there should be a hell, after all ! " he 
mutters. " If your God should be cruel ! If tliero 
should be no God ! If you should find out it is 

all imagination ! If " 

We laugh at him. When a man sits in the 
warm sunshine, do you ask him for proof of it ? 
He feels—that is all. And we feel— that is all. 
We want no proof of our God. We feel, we 
feel ! 

We do not believe in our God because the Bible 
tells us of Him. We believe in the Bible because 
He tells us of it. We feel Him, we feel Him, we 
feel— that is all ! And the poor half-swamped 
Devil mutters, — 

" But if the day should come when you do not 
feel ? " 

And we laugh, and cry him down. 
" It will never come — never," and 'the poor 
Devil slinks to sleep again, with his tail between 
his legs. Fierce assertion many times repeated 
is hard to stand against ; only time separates the 
truth from the lie. So we dream on. 

One day we go with our father to town, to 
church. The townspeople rustle in their silks, and 
the men in their sleek cloth, and settle themselves 
in their pews, and the light shines in through the 
windows on the artificial flowers in the women's 
bonnets. We have the same miserable feeling 
that we have in a shop where all the clerks are 
very smart. We wish our father hadn't brought 
us to town, and we were out on the karroo. Then 
the man in the pulpit begins to preach. His 
text is, " He that believeth not shall be damned." 



1 66 THE STORY OF 

The day before the magistrate's clerk, who was 
an atheist, has died in the street struck by light- 
ning. 

The man in the pulpit mentions no name ; but 
he talks of " The hand of God made visible 
among us." He tells us how, when the white 
stroke fell, quivering and naked, the soul fled, 
robbed of his earthly filament, and lay at the 
footstool of God; how over its head has been 
poured out the wrath of the Mighty One, whose 
existence it has denied ; and, quivering and ter- 
rified, it has fled to the everlasting shade. 

We, as we listen, half start up ; every drop of 
blood in our body has rushed to our head. He 
lies ! he lies ! he lies ! That man in the pulpit 
lies ! Will no one stop him ? Have none of 
them heard — do none of them know, that when 
the poor dark soul shut its eyes on earth it 
opened them in the still light of heaven ? that 
there is no wrath where God's face is ? that if 
one could once creep to the footstool of God, 
there is everlasting peace there ? like the fresh 
stillness of the early morning. While the atheist 
lay wondering and afraid, God bent down and 
said, " My child, here I am — I, whom you have 
not known ; I, whom you have not believed in ; I 
am here. I sent My messenger, the white sheet 
lightning, to call you home. I am here." 

Then the poor soul turned to the light,— its 
weakness and pain were gone forever. 

Have they not known, have they not heard, 
who it is rules ? 

" For a little moment have I hidden My face 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 167 

from thee ; but with everlasting kindness will I 
have mercy upon thee, saith the Lord thy 
Redeemer." 

We mutter on to ourselves, till someone pulls 
us violently by the arm to remind us we are in 
church. We see nothing but our own ideas. 

Presently every one turns to pray. There are 
six hundred souls lifting themselves to the Ever- 
lasting light. 

Behind us sit two pretty ladies ; one hands her 
scent-bottle softly to the other, and a mother 
pulls down her little girl's frock. One lady drops 
her handkerchief ; a gentleman picks it up ; she 
blushes. The women in the choir turn softly 
the leaves of their tune-books, to be ready when 
the praying is done. It is as though they thought 
more of the singing than the Everlasting Father. 
Oh, would it not be more worship of Him to sit 
alone in the karroo and kiss one little purple flower 
that He had made ? Is it not mockery ? Then the 
thought comes, " What doest thou here, Elijah ? " 
We who judge, what are we better than they ? — 
rather worse. Is it any excuse to say, " I am 
but a child and must come " ? Does God allow 
any soul to step in between the spirit He made 
and Himself ? What do we there in that 
place, where' all the words are lies against the 
All-Father ? Filled with horror, we turn and flee 
out of the place. On the pavement we smite our 
foot and swear in our child's soul never again tc 
enter those places where men come to sing and 
pray. We are questioned afterward. Why was 
it we went out of the church ? 



1 68 THE STORY OF 

How can we explain ? — we stand silent. Then 
we are pressed further, and we try to tell. Then 
a head is shaken solemnly at us. No one can 
think it wrong to go to the house of the Lord : it 
is the idle excuse of a wicked boy. When will 
we think seriously of our souls, and love going to 
church ? We are wicked, very wicked. And we 
— we slink away and go alone to cry. Will it be 
always so ? Whether we hate and doubt, or 
whether we believe and love, to our dearest, are 
we to seem always wicked ? 

We do not yet know that in the soul's search 
for truth the bitterness lies here, the striving can- 
not always hide itself among the thoughts ; sooner 
or later it will clothe itself in outward action, 
then it steps in and divides between the soul 
and what it loves. All things on earth have their 
price ; and for truth we pay the dearest. We 
Darter it for love and sympathy. The road to 
honor is paved with thorns ; but on the path to 
truth, at every step you set your foot down on 
your own heart. 

VI. 

Then at last a new time — the time of waking r 
short, sharp, and not pleasant, as wakings often 
are. 

Sleep and dreams exist on this condition — that 
no one wake the dreamer. 

And now life takes us up between her finger 
and thumb, shakes us furiously, till our poor nod- 
ding head is well-nigh rolled from our shoulders, 
and she sets us down a little hardly on the bare 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 169 

earrti, bruised and sore, but preternaturally wide 
awake. 

We have said in our days of dreaming, " In- 
justice and wrong are a seeming ; pain is a shadow. 
Our God, He is real. He who made all things, 
and He only is Love." 

Now life takes us by the neck and shows us a 
few other things, — new-made graves with the red 
sand flying about them ; eyes that we love with 
the worms eating them ; evil men walking sleek 
and fat, the whole terrible hurly-burly of the thing 
called life, — and she says, " What do you think of 
these ? " We dare not say " Nothing." We feel 
them ; they are very real. But we try to lay our 
hands about and feel that other thing we felt 
before. In the dark night in the fuel-room we 
cry to our Beautiful dream-god — " Oh, let us come 
near you, and lay our head against your feet. 
Now in our hour of need be near us." But he is 
not there ; he is gone away. The old question- 
ing Devil is there. 

We must have been awakened sooner or later. 
The imagination cannot always triumph over 
reality, the desire over truth. We must have been 
awakened. If it was done a little sharply, what 
matter ? it was done thoroughly, and it had to be 
done. 

VII. 

And a new life begins for us — a new time, a 
life as cold as that of a man who sits on the pin- 
acle of an iceberg and sees the glittering crystals 
all about him. The old looks indeed hke a long 



170 THE STORY OF 

hot delirium, peopled with phantasies. The new 
is cold enough. 

Now we have no God. We have had two : the 
old God that our fathers handed down to us, that 
we hated, and never liked ; the new one that we 
made for ourselves, that we loved : but now he 
has flitted away from us, and we see what he 
was made of — the shadow of our highest ideal, 
crowned and throned. Now we have no God. 

" The fool hath said in his heart, There is no 
God." It may be so. Most things said or written 
have been the work of fools. 

This thing is certain — he is a fool who says, 
" No man hath said in his heart, There is no 
God." 

It has been said many thousand times in hearts 
with profound bitterness of earnest faith. 

We do not cry and weep ; we sit down with 
cold eyes and look at the world. We are not 
miserable. Why should we be? We eat and 
drink, and sleep all night ; but the dead are not 
colder. 

And, we say it slowly, but without sighing, 
" Yes, we see it now : There is no God." 

And, we add, growing a little colder yet, 
"There is no justice. The ox dies in the yoke, 
beneath its master's whip ; it turns its anguish- 
filled eyes on the sunlight, but there is no sign of 
recompense to be made it. The black man is 
shot like a dog, and it goes well with the shooter. 
The innocent are accused, and the accuser 
triumphs. If you will take the trouble to scratch 
the surface anywhere, you will see under ther 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



171 



skin a sentient being writhing in potent 
anguish." 

And, we say further, and our heart is as the 
heart of the dead for coldness, " There is no 
order : all things are driven about by a blind 
chance." 

What a soul drinks in with its mother's milk 
will not leave it in a day. From our earliest 
hour we have been taught that the thought of the 
heart, the shaping of the rain-cloud, the amount 
of wool that grows on a sheep's back, the length 
of a draught, and the growing of the corn, 
depend on nothing that moves immutable, at the 
heart of all things ; but on the changeable will of a 
changeable being, whom our prayers can alter. 
To us, from the beginning, nature has been but 
a poor plastic thing, to be toyed with this way or 
that, as man happens to please his deity or not ; 
to go to church or not ; to say his prayers right 
or not ; to travel on a Sunday or not. Was it pos- 
sible for us in an instant to see Nature as she is 
— rthe flowing vestment of an unchanging reality ? 
When a soul breaks free from the arms of a 
superstition, bits of the claws and talons break 
themselves off in him. It is not the work of a 
day to squeeze them out. 

And so, for us, "the human-like driver and 
guide being gone, all existence, as we look out 
at it with our chilled, wondering eyes, is an aim- 
less rise and swell of shifting waters. In all that 
weltering chaos we can see no spot so large as a 
man's hand on which we may plant our foot. 

Whether a man believes in a human-like God 



172 THE STORY OF 

or no is a small thing. Whether lie looks into 
the mental or physical world and sees no relation 
between cause and effect, no order, but a blind 
chance sporting, this is the mightiest fact that can 
be recorded in any spiritual existence. It were 
almost a mercy to cut his throat, if indeed he does 
not do it for himself. 

We, however, do not cut our throats. To do 
so would imply some desire and feeling, and we 
have no desire and no feeling ; we are only cold. 
We do not wish to live, and we do not wish to die. 
One day a snake curls itself round the waist of a 
Kaffir woman. We take it in our hand, swing it 
round and round, and fling it on the ground — 
dead. Every one looks at us with eyes of admira- 
tion. We almost laugh. Is it wonderful to risk 
that for which we care nothing ? 

In truth, nothing matters. This dirty little 
world full of confusion, and the blue rag, stretched 
overhead for a sky, is so low we could touch it 
with our hand. 

Existence is a great pot, and the old Fate who 
stirs it round cares nothing what rises to the top 
and what goes down, and laughs when the bub- 
bles burst. And we do not care. Let it boil 
about. W T hy should we trouble ourselves ? 
Nevertheless the physical sensations are real. 
Hunger hurts, and thirst, therefore we eat and 
drink : inaction pains us, therefore we work like 
galley-slaves. No one demands it, but we set 
ourselves to build a great dam in red sand be- 
yond the graves. In the gray dawn before the 
eheep are let out we work at it, fdl day, white 



A AT AFRICAAT FARM. 173 

the young ostriches we tend feed about us, we 
work on through the fiercest heat. The people 
wonder what new spirit has seized us now. They 
do not know we are working for life. We bear 
the greatest stones, and feel a satisfaction when 
we stagger under them, and are hurt by a pang 
that shoots through our chest. While we eat our 
dinner we carry on baskets full of earth, as 
though the Devil drove us. The Kaffir servants 
have a story that at night a witch and two white 
oxen come to help us. No wall, they say, could 
grow so quickly under one man's hands. 

At night, alone in our cabin, we sit no more 
brooding over the fire. What should we think 
of now ? All is emptiness. So we take the old 
arithmetic: and the multiplication table, which 
with so much pains we learnt long ago and forgot 
directly, we learn, now in a few hours, and never for- 
get again. We take a strange satisfaction in work- 
ing arithmetical problems. We pause in our 
building to cover the stones with figures and cal- 
culations. We save money for a Latin Grammar 
and an Algebra, and carry them about in our 
pockets, poring over them as over our Bible of 
old. We have thought we were utterly stupid, 
incapable of remembering anything, of learning 
anything. Now we find that all is easy. Has 
a new soul crept into this old body, that even 
our intellectual faculties are changed ? We 
marvel ; not perceiving that what a man expends 
in prayer and ecstasy he cannot have over for 
acquiring knowledge. You never shed a tear, or 
create a beautiful image, or quiver with emotion, 



174 THE STORY OF 

but you pay for it at the practical, calculating- 
end of your nature. You have just so much 
force : when the one channel runs over the other 
runs dry. 

And now we turn to Nature. All these years 
we have lived beside her, and we have never 
seen her ; now we open our eyes and look at her. 

The rocks have been to us a blur of brown ; 
we bend over them, and the disorganized masses 
dissolve into a many-colored, many-shaped, care- 
fully-arranged form of existence. Here masses 
of rainbow-tinted crystals, half-fused together : 
their bands of smooth gray and red methodically 
overlying each other. This rock here is covered 
with a delicate silver tracery, in some mineral, re- 
sembling leaves and branches ; there on the flat 
stone, on which we so often have sat.to weep and 
pray, we look down, and see it covered with the 
fossil footprints of great birds, and the beautiful 
skeleton of a fish. We have often tried to picture 
in our mind what the fossilized remains of creatures 
must be like, and all the while we sat on them. 
We have been so blinded by thinking and feeling 
that we have never seen the world. 

The flat plain has been to us a reach of monot- 
onous red. We look at it, and every handful 
of sand starts into life. That wonderful people, 
the ants, we learn to know ; see them make war 
and peace, play and work, and build their huge 
palaces. And that smaller people we make ac- 
quaintance with, who live in the flowers. The 
bitto flower had been for us a mere blur of yellow ; 
we find its heart composed of a hundred per- 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 1 7 5 

feet flowevs, the homes of the tiny black people 
with red stripes, who move in and out in that 
little yellow city. Every bluebell has its inhabit- 
ant. Every day the karroo shows up a new 
wonder sleeping in its teeming bosom. On our 
way to work we pause and stand to see the ground 
spider make its trap, bury itself in the sand, and 
then wait for the falling in of its enemy. Farther 
on walks a horned beetle, and near him starts 
open the door of a spider, who peeps out care- 
fully, and quickly puts it down again. On a kar- 
roo-bush a green fly is laying her silver eggs. We 
carry them home, and see the shells pierced, the 
spotted grub come out, turn to a green fly, and 
flit away. We are not satisfied with what Nature 
shows us, and will see something for ourselves. 
Under the white hen we put a dozen eggs, and 
break one daily, to see the white spot wax into 
the chicken. We are not excited or enthusiastic 
about it ; but a man is not to lay his throat open, 
he must think of something. So we plant seeds 
in rows on our dam-wall, and pull one up daily 
to see how it goes with them. Alladeen buried 
her wonderful stone, and a golden palace sprang 
up at her feet. We do far more. We put a 
brown seed in the earth, and a living thing starts 
out — starts upward — why, no more than Alladeen 
can we say — starts upward, and does not desist 
till it is higher than our heads, sparkling with dew 
in the early morning, glittering with yellow blos- 
soms, shaking brown seeds with little embryo 
souls on to the ground. We look at it solemnly, 
from the time it consists of two leaves peeping 



176 THE STORY OF 

above the ground and a soft white root, till we 
have to raise out faces to look at it ; but we find 
no reason for that upward starting. 

We look into dead ducks and lambs. In the 
evening we carry them home, spread newspapers 
on the floor, and lie working with them till mid- 
night. With a startled feeling near akin to ecstasy 
we open the lump of flesh called a heart, and 
find little doors and strings inside. We feel them, 
and put the heart away ; but every now and then 
return to look, and to feel them again. Why we 
like them so we can hardly tell. 

A gander drowns itself in our dam. We take 
it out, and open it on the bank, and kneel, looking 
at it. Above are the organs divided by delicate 
tissues ; below are the intestines artistically curved 
in a spiral form, and each tier covered by a delicate 
network of blood-vessels standing .out red against 
the faint blue background. Each branch of the 
blood-vessels is comprised of a trunk, bifurcating 
and rebifurcating into the most delicate, hair- 
like threads, symmetrically arranged. We are 
struck with its singular beauty. And, moreover 
— and here we drop from our kneeling into a sit- 
ting posture — this also we remark : of that same 
exact shape and outline is our thorn-tree seen 
against the sky in mid-winter : of that shape also 
is delicate metallic tracery between our rocks ; 
in that exact path does our water flow when with- 
out a furrow we lead it from the dam ; so shaped 
are the antlers of the horned beetle. How are 
these things related that such deep union should 
exist between them all ? Is it chance ? Or, are 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 1 7 7 

they not all the fine branches of one trunk, whose 
sap flows through us all ? That would explain it. 
We nod over the gander's inside. 

This thing we call existence ; is it not a some* 
thing which has its roots far down below in the 
dark, and its branches stretching out into the 
immensity above, which we among the branches 
tannot see ? Not a chance jumble ; a living thing, 
a One. The thought gives us intense satisfaction, 
we cannot tell why. 

We nod over the gander ; then start up sud- 
denly, look into the blue sky, throw the dead 
gander and the refuse into the dam, and go to 
work again. V ***— -i 

And so, it comes to pass in time, that the earth 
ceases for us to be a weltering chaos. We walk I 
in the great hall of life, looking up and round rev- j 
erentially. Nothing is despicable — all is mean- 
ing-full ; nothing is small — all is part of a whole, I 
whose beginning and end we know not. The life j 
that throbs in us is a pulsation from it ; too mighty j 
for our comprehension, not too small. 2*" ^ 

And so, it comes to pass at last, that whereas 
the sky was at first a small blue rag stretched out 
over ds ; and so low that our hands might touch 
it, pressing down on us, it raises itself into an 
immeasurable blue arch over our heads, and we . 
begin to live again. 
13 



CHAPTER IL 

Waldo's stranger 

Waldo lay on his stomach on the red sand. 
The small ostriches he herded' wandered about 
him, pecking at the food he had cut, or at pebbles 
and dry sticks. On his right lay the graves ; to 
his left the dam ; in his hand was a large wooden 
post covered with carvings, at which he worked. 
Doss lay before him basking in the winter sun- 
shine, and now and again casting an expectant 
glance at the corner of the nearest ostrich-camp. 
The scrubby thorn-trees under which they lay 
yielded no shade, but none was needed in that 
glorious June weather, when in the hottest part 
of the afternoon the sun was but pleasantly warm ; 
and the boy carved on, not looking up, yet con- 
scious of the brown serene earth about him and 
the intensely blue sky above. 

Presently, at the corner of the camp, Em ap- 
peared, bearing a covered saucer in one hand, and 
in the other a jug with a cup in the top. She was 
grown into a premature little old woman of sixteen, 
ridiculously fat. The jug and saucer she put 
down on the ground before the dog and his master, 
and dropped down beside them herself, panting 
and out of breath. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



79 



" Waldo, as I came up the camps I met some 
one on horseback ; and I do believe it must be 
the new man that is coming." 

The new man was an Englishman to whom the 
Boer-woman had hired half the farm. 

" Hum ! " said Waldo. 

" He is quite young," said Em, holding her 
side, " and he has brown hair, and beard curling 
close to his face, and such dark blue eyes. And, 
Waldo, I was so ashamed ! I was just looking 
back to see, you know, and he happened just to 
be looking back too, and we looked right into 
each other's faces ; and he got red, and I got so 
red. I believe he is the new man." 

" Yes," said Waldo. 

"I must go now. Perhaps he has brought us 
letters from the post from Lyndall. You know 
she can't stay at school much longer, she must 
come back soon. And the new man will have to 
stay with us till his house is built. I must get 
his room ready. Good-bye ! " 

She tripped off again, and Waldo carved on at 
his post. Doss lay with his nose close to the 
covered saucer, and smelt that some one had 
made nice little fat cakes that afternoon. Both 
were so intent on their occupation that not till a 
horse's hoofs beat beside them in the sand did 
they look up to see a rider drawing in his steed. 

He was certainly not the stranger whom Em 
had described. A dark, somewhat French-look- 
ing little man of eight-and-twenty, rather stout, 
with heavy, cloudy eyes and pointed mustache. 
His horse was a fiery creature, well caparisoned \ 



180 THE STOK V OF 

a highly-finished saddle-bag hung from the saddle? 
the man's hands were gloved, and he presented 
the appearance — an appearance rare on that 
farm — of a well-dressed gentleman. 

In an uncommonly melodious voice he inquired 
whether he might be allowed to remain there for 
an hour. Waldo directed him to the farm-house, 
but the stranger declined. He would merely rest 
under the trees, and give his horse water. He 
removed the saddle, and Waldo led the animal 
away to the dam. When he returned, the stranger 
had settled himself under the trees, with his back 
against the saddle. The boy offered him of the 
cakes. He declined, but took a draught from 
the jug ; and Waldo lay down not far off, and 
fell to work again. It mattered nothing if cold 
eyes saw it. It was not his sheep-shearing 
machine. With material loves, as with human, 
Ave go mad once, love out, and have done. We 
«never get up the true enthusiasm a second time. 
This was but a thing he had made, labored over, 
loved and liked — nothing more — not his machine. 

The stranger forced himself lower down in the 
saddle and yawned. It was a drowsy afternoon, 
and he objected to travel in these out-of-the-world 
parts. He liked better civilized life, where at 
every hour of the day a man may look for his 
glass of wine, and his easy-chair, and paper ; 
where at night he may lock himself into his room 
with his books and a bottle of brandy, and taste 
joys mental and physical. The world said of 
him — the all-knowing, omnipotent world, whom 
no locks can bar, who has the cat-like propensity 



AN AFRICAN FARM. . 181 

of seeing best in the dark — the world said, that 
better than the books he loved the brandy, and 
better than books or brandy that which it had 
been better had he loved less. But for the world 
he cared nothing ; he smiled blandly in its teeth. 
All life is a dream : if wine and philosophy and 
women keep the dream from becoming a night- 
mare, so much the better. It is all they are fit 
for, all they can be used for. There was another 
side to his life and thought ; but of that the 
world knew nothing, and said nothing, as the way 
of the wise world is. 

The stranger looked from beneath his sleepy 
eyelids at the brown earth that stretched away, 
beautiful in spite of itself in that June sunshine ; 
looked at the graves, the gables of the farm-house 
showing over the stone walls of the camps, at 
the clownish fellow at his feet, and yawned. But 
he had drunk of the hind's tea, and must say 
something. 

" Your father's place, I presume ? " he inquired 
sleepily. 

" No ; I am only a servant." 

" Dutch people ? " 

" Yes." 

" And you like the life ?• 

The boy hesitated. 

" On days like these." 

" And why on these ? " 

The boy waited. 

" They are very beautiful." 

The stranger looked at him. It seemed that 
as the fellow's dark eyes looked across the brown 



J 82 THE STORY OF 

earth they kindled with an intense satisfaction ; 
then they looked back at the carving. 

What had that creature, so coarse-clad .id 
clownish, to do with the subtle joys of the weather ? 
Himself, white-handed and delicate, he might hear 
the music which shimmering sunshine and soli- 
tude play on the finely strung chords of nature ; 
but that fellow ! Was not the ear in that great 
body too gross for such delicate mutterings ? 

Presently he said : 

" May I see what. you work at ? " 

The fellow handed his wooden post. It was 
by no means lovely. The men and birds were 
almost grotesque in their labored resemblance to 
nature, and bore signs of patient thought. The 
stranger turned the thing over on his knee. 

" Where did you learn this work ? " - 

" I taught myself." 

" And these zigzag lines represent " 

" A mountain." 

The stranger looked. 

" It has some meaning, has it not ? " 

The boy muttered confusedly : 

" Only things." 

The questioner looked down at him — the huge, 
unwieldly figure, in size a man's, in right of its 
childlike features and curling hair a child's ■; and 
it hurt him — it attracted him and it hurt him. It 
was something between pity and sympathy. 

" How long have you worked at this ? " 

" Nine months." 

From his pocket the stranger drew his pocket- 
book, and took something from it. He could 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 183 

fasten the post to his horse in some way, and 
*hrow it away in the sand when at a safe dis- 
tance. 

" Will you take this for your carving ? " 

The boy glanced at the five-pound note and 
shook his head. 

" No ; I cannot." 

" You think it is worth more ? " asked the 
stranger with a little sneer. 

He pointed with his thumb to a grave. 

" No ;, it is for him." 

" And who is there ? " asked the stranger. 

" My father," 

The man silently returned the note to his 
pocket-book, and gave the carving to the boy ; 
and, drawing his hat over his eyes, composed 
himself to sleep. Not being able to do so, after 
a while he glanced over the fellow's shoulder to 
watch him work. The boy carved letters into 
the back. 

" If," said the stranger, with his melodious 
voice, rich with a sweetness that never showed 
itself in the clouded eyes — for sweetness will 
linger on in the voice long after it has died out 
in the eyes — " if for such a purpose, why write 
that upon it ? " 

The boy glanced round at him, but made no 
answer. He had almost forgotten his presence. 

" You surely believe," said the stranger, " that 
some day, sooner or later, these graves will open, 
and those Boer-uncles with their wives walk 
about here in the red sand, with the very fleshly 
legs with which they went' to sleep ? Then why 



*84 THE STORY OF 

say, ■ He sleeps forever' ? You believe he will 
stand up again ? " 

" Do you ? " asked the boy, lifting for an in- 
stant his heavy eyes to the stranger's face. 

Half taken aback, the stranger laughed. It 
was as though a curious little tadpole which he 
held under his glass should suddenly lift its tail 
and begin to question him. 

" I ? — no." He laughed his short thick laugh, 
"lama man who believes nothing, hopes noth- 
ing, fears nothing, feels nothing. I am beyond the 
pale of humanity ; no criterion of what you should 
be who live here among your ostriches and 
bushes." 

The next moment the stranger was surprised 
by a sudden movement on the part of the fellow, 
which brought him close to the stranger's feet. 
Soon after, he raised his carving and laid it 
across the man's knee. 

"Yes, I will tell you," he muttered: "I will 
tell you all about it." 

He put his finger on the grotesque little man- 
ikin at the bottom (Ah ! that man who believed 
nothing, hoped nothing, felt nothing ; how he 
loved him/), and with eager finger the fellow 
moved upward, explaining over fantastic figures 
and mountains, to the crowning bird from whose 
wing dropped a feather. At the end he spoke 
with broken breath — short words, like one who 
utters things of mighty import. 

The stranger watched more the face than the 
carving ; and there walls now and then a show of 
white teeth beneath the mustaches as he listened. 



AN AFRICAN FARM, 185 

" I think," he said blandly, when the boy had 
done, " that I partly understand you. It is some- 
thing after this fashion, is it not ? " (He smiled.) 
" In certain valleys there was a hunter." (He 
touched the grotesque little figure at the bottom.) 
" Day by day he went to hunt for wild-fowl in the 
woods; and it chanced that once he stood on the 
shores of a large lake. While he stood waiting 
in the rushes for the coming of the birds, a great 
shadow fell on him, and in the water he saw a 
reflection. He looked up to the sky ; but the 
thing was gone. Then a burning desire came 
over him to see once again that reflection in the 
water, and all day he watched and waited ; but 
night came, and it had not returned. Then he 
went home with his empty bag, moody and silent. 
His comrades came questioning about him to 
know the reason, but he answered them nothing ; 
he sat alone and brooded. Then his friend came 
to him, and to him he spoke. 

" * I have seen to-day,' he said, ' that which I 
never saw before — a vast white bird, with silver 
wings outstretched, sailing in the everlasting 
blue. And now it is as though a great fire burnt 
within my breast. It was but a sheen, a shimmer, 
a reflection in the water ; but now I desire noth- 
ing more on earth than to hold her." 

" His friend laughed. 

" * It was but a beam playing on the water, or 
the shadow of your own head. To-morrow you 
will forget her,' he said. 

" But to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow 
the hunter walked alone. He sought in the forest 



386 THE STORY OF 

and in the woods, by the lakes and among the 
rushes, but he could not find her. He shot no 
more wild-fowl ; what were they to him ? 

" ' What ails him ? ' said his comrades. 

" ! He is mad,' said one. 
- " ' No ; but he is worse/ said another ; ' he 
would see that which none of us have seen, and 
make himself a wonder.' 

" \ Come, let us forswear his company,' said 
all. 

" So the hunter walked alone. 

" One night, as he wandered in the shade, very 
heart-sore and weeping, an old man stood before 
him, grander and taller than the sons of men. 

" ' Who are you ? ' asked the hunter. 

" ' I am Wisdom,' answered the old man ; ' but 
some men called me Knowledge. All my life I 
have grown in these valleys ; but no man sees me 
till he has sorrowed much. The eyes must be 
washed with tears that are to behold me; and 
according as a man has suffered, I speak." 

" And the hunter cried : 

" ' Oh, you who have lived here so long, tell me, 
what is that great wild bird I have seen sailing in 
the blue ? They would have me believe she is a 
dream ; the shadow of my own head.' 

" The old man smiled. 

" ' Her name is Truth. He who has once seen 
her never rests again. Till death he desires 
her.' 

" And the hunter cried : 

"' Oh, tell me where I may find herl* 

" But the man said ; 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 187 

,l * You have not suffered enough,' and went. 

"Then the hunter took from his breast the shut- 
tle of Imagination, and wound on it the thread of 
his Wishes ; and all night he sat and wove a net. 

" In the morning he spread the golden net open 
on the ground, and into it he threw a few grains of 
credulity, which his father had left him, and which 
he kept in his breast-pocket. They were like white 
puff-balls, and when you trod on them a brown 
dust flew out. Then he sat by to see what would 
happen. The first that came into the net was a 
snow-white bird, with dove's eyes, and he sang a 
beautiful song — ' A human-God ! a human-God ! 
a human-God ! ' it sang. The second that came 
was black and mystical, with dark, lovely eyes 
that looked into the depths of your soul, and he 
sang only this — * Immortality ! ' 

" And the hunter took them both in his arms, 
for he said : 

l t ' They are surely of the beautiful family of 
Truth.' 

" Then came another, green and gold, who sang 
in a shrill voice, like one crying in the market- 
place, — ' Reward after Death ! Reward after 
Death ! * 

" And he said : 

" ' You are not so fair ; but you are fair too,' 
and he took it. 

" And others came, brightly colored, singing 
pleasant songs, till all the grains were finished. 
And the hunter gathered all his birds together, 
and built a strong iron cage called a new creed, 
and put all his birds in it. 



l88 THE STORY OF 

" Then the people came about dancing and 

singing. 

" ' Oh, happy hunter ! ' they cried. ' Oh, 
wonderful man ! Oh, delightful birds ! Oh 
lovely songs ! ' 

" No one asked where the birds had come from, 
nor how they had been caught ; but they danced 
and sang before them. And the hunter, too, was 
glad, for he said : 

" l Surely Truth is among them. In time she 
will moult her feathers, and I shall see her snow- 
white form.' 

" But the time passed, and the people sang and 
danced ; but the hunter's heart grew heavy. He 
crept alone, as of old, to weep ; the terrible desire 
had awakened again in his breast. One day, as 
he sat alone weeping, it chanced that Wisdom 
met him. He told the old man what he had 
done. 

" And Wisdom smiled sadly. 

" ' Many men,' he said, ' have spread that net 
for Truth ; but they have never found her. On 
the grains of credulity she will not feed ; in the net 
of wishes her feet cannot be held ; in the air of 
these valleys she will not breathe. The birds 
you have caught are of the brood of Lies. Lovely 
and, beautiful, but still lies ; Truth knows them 
not.' 

" And the hunter cried out in bitterness : 

" ' And must I then sit still, to be devoured of 
this great burning ? ' 

" And the old man said : 

" * Listen, and in that you have suffered much 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 189 

and wept much, I will tell you what I know. He 
who sets out to search for Truth must leave these 
valleys of superstition forever, taking with him 
not one shred that has belonged to them. Alone 
he must wander down into the Land of Absolute 
Negation and Denial ; he must abide there ; he 
must resist temptation ; when the light breaks he 
must arise and follow it into the country of 
dry sunshine. The mountains of stern reality 
will rise before him ; he must climb them ; beyond 
them lies Truth.' 

" ' And he will hold her fast ! he will hold her 
in his hands ! ' the hunter cried. 
. " Wisdom shook his head. 

" ' He. will never see her, never hold her. The 
time is not yet.' 

" ' Then there is no hope ? ' cried the hunter. 

" ' There is this,' said Wisdom. ' Some men 
have climbed on those mountains ; circle above 
circle of bare rock they have scaled ; and, wander- 
ing there, in those high regions, some have chanced 
to pick up on the ground, one white, silver feather 
dropped from the wing of Truth. And it shall 
come to pass,' said the old man, raising himself 
prophetically and pointing with his finger to the 
sky, ' it shall come to pass, that, when enough of 
those silver feathers shall have been gathered by 
the hands of men, and shall have been woven in- 
to a cord, and the cord into a net, that in that net 
Truth may be captured. Nothing but Truth can 
hold Truth.'' 

" The hunter arose. ' I will go/ he said. 

M But Wisdom detained him. 



190 THE STOR S OF 

"'Mark you well — who leaves these valleys 
neper returns to them. Though he should weep 
tears of blood seven days and nights upon the 
confines, he can never put his foot across them. 
Left — they are left forever. Upon the road 
which you would travel there is no reward offered. 
Who goes, goes freely — for the great love that is 
in him. The work is his reward.' 

" * I go,' said the hunter ; .' but upon the mount- 
ains, tell me, which path shall I take ? ' 

"'lam the child of The-Accumulated-Knowl- 
edge-of-Ages,' said the man ; ' I can walk only 
where many men have trodden. On those mount- 
ains few men have passed ; each man strikes 
out a path for himself. He goes at his own -peril ; 
my voice he hears no more. "I may follow after 
him, but T cannot go before him.' 

"Then Knowledge vanished. 

" And the hunter turned He went to his cage, 
and with his hands broke down the bars, and the 
jagged iron tore his flesh. It is sometimes easier 
to build than to break. 

"One by one he took his plumed birds and let 
them fly. But, when he came to his dark-plumed 
bird, he held it, and looked into its beautiful eyes, 
and the bird uttered its low deep cry — ' Immor- 
tality ! ' 

" And he said quickly, ' I cannot part with it. 
It is not heavy; it eats no food. I will hide it 
in my breast, I will take it with me.' And he 
buried it there, and covered it over with his cloak. 

" But the thing he had hidden grew heavier, 
heayierj heavier — till it lay on his breast like lead. 



AN A FRICA N FA RM. 1 9 1 

He could not move with it. He could not leave 
those valleys with it. Then again he took it out 
and looked at it. 

" ' Oh r my beautiful, my heart's own ! ' he cried, 
' may I not keep you ? ' 

" He opened his hands sadly. 

" ' Go,' he said. ' It may happen that in 
Truth's song one note is like to yours ; but / 
shall never hear it.' 

" Sadly he opened his hand, and the bird flew 
from him forever. 

" Then from the shuttle of Imagination he took 
the thread of his wishes, and threw it on the 
ground ; and the empty shuttle he put into his 
breast, for the thread was made in those valleys, 
but the shuttle came from an unknown country. 
He turned to go, but now the people came about 
him, howling : 

" ' Fool, hound, demented lunatic ! ' they cried. 
' How dared you break your cage and let the 
birds fly?' 

" The hunter spoke ; but they would not hear 
him. 

" ' Truth ! who is she ? Can you eat her ? can 
you drink her ? Who has ever seen her ? Your 
birds were real : all could hear them sing ! Oh, 
fool ! vile reptile ! atheist ! ' they cried, ' you 
pollute the air.' 

" ' Come, let us take up stones and stone him,' 
cried some. 

" ' What affair is it of ours ? ' said others. ' Let 
the idiot go,' and went away. But the rest 
gathered up stones and mud and threw at him. 



192 THE STORY OF 

At last, when he was bruised and cut, the hunter 
crept away into the woods. And it was evening 
about him." 

At every word the stranger spoke the fellow's 
eyes flashed back on him — yes, and yes, and 
yes ! The stranger smiled. It was almost worth 
the trouble of exerting one's self, even on a lazy 
afternoon, to win those passionate flashes, more 
thirsty and desiring than the love-glances of a 
woman. 

" He wandered on and on," said the stranger, 
" and the shade grew deeper. He was on the 
borders now of the land where it is always night. 
Then he stepped into it, and there was no light 
there. With his hands he groped ; but each 
branch as he touched it broke off, and the earth 
was covered with cinders. At every step his foot 
sank in, and a fine cloud of impalpable ashes 
flew up into his face; and it was dark. So he 
sat down upon a stone and buried his face in his 
hands, to wait in that Land of Negation and 
Denial till the light came. 

" And it was night in his heart also. 

"Then from the marshes to his right and left 
cold mists arose and closed about him. A fine, 
imperceptible rain fell in the dark, and great 
drops gathered on his hair and clothes. His 
heart beat slowly, and a numbness crept through 
all his limbs. Then, looking up, two merry wisp 
lights came dancing. He lifted his head to look 
at them. Nearer, nearer they came. So warm, 
so bright, they danced like stars of fire. They 
stood before him at last. From the center of the 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 193 

radiating flame in one looked out a woman's face, 
laughing, dimpled, with streaming yellow hair. 
In the center of the other were merry laughing 
ripples, like the bubbles on a glass of wine. I hey 
danced before him. 

« « Who are you,' asked the hunter, who aione 
come to me in my solitude and darkness V 

'"We are the twins Sensuality,' they cried. 
* Our father's name is Human-Nature, and our 
mother's name is Excess. We are as old as the 
hills and rivers, as old as the first man ; but we 
never die,' they laughed. f . 

" * Oh, let me wrap my arms about you ! cried 
the first ; ' they are soft and warm. Your heart 
is frozen now, but I will make it beat. Oh, come 
to me ! ' . / , ;-, j, 

" 1 1 will pour my hot life into you, said the 
second : ' your brain is numb, and your limbs are 
dead now ; but they shall live with a fierce, free 
life. Oh, let me pour it in ! ' 

" < Oh, follow us,' they cried, « and live with us. 
Nobler hearts than yours have sat here in this dark- 
ness to wait, and they have come to us and we 
to them ; and they have never left us, never. All 
else is a delusion, but we are real, we are real. 
Truth is a shadow : the valleys of superstition are 
a farce ; the earth is of ashes, the trees all rotten ; 
but we— feel us— we live ! You cannot doubt us. 
Feel us, how warm we are ! Oh, come to us! 
Come with us ! ' , 

" Nearer and nearer round his head they hov- 
ered, and the cold drops melted on his forehead. 
The bright light shot into his eyes, dazzling him, 
1% 



*94 THE STORY OF 

and the frozen blood began to run. And he 
said : 

" * Yes ; why should I die here in this awful 
darkness ? They are warm, they melt my frozen 
blood ! ' and he stretched out his hands to take 
them. 

" Then in a moment there arose before him the 
image of the thing he had loved, and his hand 
dropped to his side. 

" ' Oh, come to us ! ' they cried. 

" But he buried his face. 

" ' You dazzle my eyes,' he cried, ' you make 
my heart warm ; but you cannot give me what I 
desire. I will wait here — wait till I die. Go ! ' 

" He covered his face with his hands and would 
not listen ; and when he looked up again they 
were two twinkling stars, that vanished in the 
distance. 

" And the long, long night rolled on. 

" All who leave the valley of superstition pass 
through that dark land ; but some go through it 
in a few days, some linger there for months, some 
for years, and some die there." 

The boy had crept closer ; his hot breath almost 
touched the stranger's hand; a mystic wonder 
filled his eyes. 

" At last for the hunter a faint light played 
along the horizon, and he rose to follow it ; and 
he reached that light at last, and stepped into the 
broad sunshine. Then before him rose the 
almighty mountains of Dry-facts and Realities. 
The clear sunshine played on them, and the tops 
were lost in the clouds. At the foot many paths 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 195 

ran up. An exultant cry burst from the hunter. 
He chose the straightest and began to climb, 
and the rocks and ridges resounded with his song. 
They had exaggerated ; after all, it was not so 
high, nor was the road so steep ! A few days, a 
few weeks, a few months at most, and then the 
top ! Not one feather only would he pick up ; he 
would gather all that other men had found — weave 
the net — capture Truth — hold her fast — touch her 
with his hands — clasp her ! 

" He laughed in the merry sunshine, and sang 
loud. Victory was very near. Nevertheless, 
after a while the path grew steeper. He needed 
all his breath for climbing, and the singing died 
away. On the right and left rose huge rocks de- 
void of lichen or moss, and in the lava-like earth 
chasms yawned. Here and there he saw a sheen 
of white bones. Now, too, the path began to grow 
less and less marked ; then it became a mere trace, 
with a footmark here and there ; then it ceased 
altogether. He sang no more, but struck forth a 
path for himself until he reached a mighty wall of 
rock, smooth and without break, stretching as far 
as the eye could see. ' I will rear a stair against 
it ; and, once this wall climbed, I shall be almost 
there,' he said bravely ; arid worked. With his 
shuttle of imagination he dug out stones ; but 
half of them would not fit, and half a month's 
work would roll down because those below were ill 
chosen. But the hunter worked on, saying always 
to himself, ' Once this wall climbed, I shall be 
almost there. This great work ended ! ' 

" At last he came out upon the top, and he 



196 THE STORY OF . 

looked about him. Far below rolled the white 
mist over the valleys of superstition, and above 
him towered the mountains. They had seemed 
low before ; they were of an immeasurable height 
now, from crown to foundation surrounded by 
walls of rock, that rose tier above tier in mighty 
circles. Upon them played the eternal sunshine. 
He uttered a wild cry. He bowed himself on tc* 
the earth, and when he rose his face was white. 
In absolute silence he walked on. He was very 
silent now. In those high regions the rarefied 
air is hard to breathe by those born in the valleys ; 
every breath he drew hurt him, and the blood 
oozed out from the tips of his fingers. Before the. 
next wall of reck he began to work. The height 
of this seemed infinite, and he said nothing. The 
sound of his tool rang night and day upon the 
iron rocks into which he cut steps. Years passed 
over him, yet he worked on ; but the wall towered 
up always above him to heaven. Sometimes he 
prayed that a little moss or lichen might spring 
up on those bare walls to be a companion to him ; 
but it never came." The stranger watched the 
boy's face. 

" And the years rolled on : he counted them 
by the steps he had cut — a few for a year — only 
a few. He sang no more ; he said no more, ' I will 
do this or that ' — he only worked. And at night, 
when the twilight settled down, there looked out 
at him from the holes and crevices in the rocks 
strange wild faces. 

" ' Stop your work, you lonely man, and speak 
to us,' they cried. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 197 

« < My salvation is in work. If I should stop 
but for one moment you would creep down upon 
me,' he replied. And they put out their long 
necks further. \ , 

" < Look down into the crevice at your leet, 
they said. ' See what lie there— white bones ! 
As brave and strong a man as you climbed to 
these rocks. And he looked up. He saw there 
was no use in striving ; he would never hold Truth, 
never see her, never find her. So he lay down 
here, for he was very tired. He went to sleep for- 
ever. He put himself to sleep. Sleep is very 
tranquil. You are not lonely when you are asleep, 
neither do your hands ache, nor your heart.' And 
the hunter laughed between his teeth. 

" ' Have I torn from my heart all that was dear- 
est ; have I wandered alone in the land of night; 
have I resisted temptation ; have I dwelt where 
the voice of my kind is never heard, and labored 
alone, to lie down and be food for you, ye harpies ? 

" He laughed fiercely ; and the Echoes of De- 
spair slunk away, for the laugh of a brave, strong 
heart is as a death-blow to them. 

" Nevertheless they crept out again and looked 

" ' Do you know that your hair is white ? _ they 
said, ' that your hands begin to tremble like a 
child's ? Do you see that the point of your shuttle 
is gone ?— it is cracked already. If you should 
ever climb this stair,' they said, ' it will be your 
last. You will never climb another.' 

" And he answered, 'I know it!' and worked 
on. 



198 THE STORY OF 

" The old, thin hands cut the stones ill and jag- 
gedly, for the fingers were stiff and bent. The 
beauty and the strength of the man was gone. 

" At last, an old, wizened, shrunken face looked 
out above the rocks. It saw the eternal mount- 
ains rise with walls to the white clouds ; but its 
work was done. 

" The old hunter folded his tired hands and lay 
down -by the precipice where he had worked away 
his life. It was the sleeping time at last. Below 
him, over the valleys rolled the thick white mist. 
Once it broke ; and through the gap the dying 
eyes looked down on the trees and fields of their 
childhood. From afar seemed borne to him the 
cry of his own wild birds, and he heard the noise 
of people singing as they danced. And he thought 
he heard among them the voices of his old com- 
rades ; and he saw far off the sunlight shine on 
his early home. And great tears gathered in the 
hunter's eyes. 

" * Ah ! they who die there do- not die alone,' 
he cried. 

" Then the mists rolled together again ; and he 
turned his eyes away. 

"'I have sought,' he said, 'for long years I 
have labored : but I have not found her. I have 
not rested, I have not repined, and I have not 
seen her ; now my strength is gone. Where I lie 
down worn out other men will stand, young and 
fresh. By the steps that I have cut they will 
climb ; by the stairs that I have built they will 
mount. They will never know the name of the 
man who made them. At the clumsy work they will 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 199 



laueh- when the stones roll they will curse me. 
But they will mount, and on my work ; they will 
cUmb and by my stair ! They will find her and 
through me! And no man liveth to himself, and 
no man dieth to himself.' . , 

"The tears rolled from beneath the shriveled 
evelids. If Truth had appeared above him in 
the clouds now he could not have seen her, the 
mist of death was in his eyes. . 

«< My soul hears their glad step coming,' he 
said • 'and they shall mount ! they shall mount ! 
He raised his shriveled hand to his eyes. 

"Then slowlyfromthe white sky above through 
the still air, came something falling, falling, fa li- 
ng Softly it fluttered down, and dropped on to 
ht breast "of the dying man He felt it with his 
hands. It was a feather. He died holding it. 

The boy had shaded his eyes with his hand 
On the wood of the carving great drops fell. 1 he 
stranger must have laughed at him, or remained 
silent. He did so. • '••.'. . , 

"How did you know it?" the boy whispered 
at last. " It is not written there— not on that 
wood. How did you know it ? " . . 

"Certainly," said the stranger,, "the whole of 
the story is not written here, but it is suggested 
And the" attribute of all true art, the high : t .and 
the lowest, is this— that it says more than it says, 
and tales you away from itself. It is a little door 
that opens" into an infinite hall where you may 
find what you please. Men, thinking to detract 
sav 'People read more in this or that work of 
genius than was ever written in it,' not perceiving 



2oo THE STORY OF 

that they pay the highest compliment. If we 
pick up the finger and nail of a real man, we can 
decipher a whole story — could almost reconstruct 
the creature again, from head to foot. But half 
the body of a Mumboo-jumbow idol leaves us 
utterly in the dark as to what the rest was like. 
We see what we see, but nothing more. There 
is nothing so universally intelligible as truth. It 
has a thousand meanings, and suggests a thousand 
more." He turned over the wooden thing. 
" Though a man should carve it into matter with 
the least possible manipulative skill, it will yet 
find interpreters. It is the soul that looks out 
with burning eyes through the most gross fleshly 
filament. Whosoever should portray truly the 
life and death of a little flower — its birth, suck- 
ing in of nourishment, reproduction of its kind, 
withering and vanishing — would have shaped a 
'symbol of all existence. All true facts of nature 
or the mind are related. Your little carving rep- 
resents some mental facts as they really are, 
therefore fifty different true stories might be read 
from it. What your work wants is not truth, but 
beauty of external form, the other half of art." 

He leaned almost gently toward the boy. 
" Skill may come in time, but you will have to 
work hard. The love of beauty and the desire 
for it must be born in a man ; the skill to repro- 
duce it he must make. He must work hard." 

" All my life I have longed to see you," the boy 
said. 

The stranger broke off the end of his cigar, and 
lit it. The boy lifted the heavy wood from the 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 201 

stranger's knee and drew yet nearer him. In 
the dog-like manner of his drawing near there 
was something superably ridiculous, unless one 
chanced to view it in another light. Presently the 
stranger said, whiffing, " Do something for me ? " 

The boy started up. 

" No ; stay where you are. I don't want you 
to go anywhere ; I want you to talk to me. Tell 
me what you have been doing all your life." 

The boy slunk down again. Would that the 
man had asked him to root up bushes with his 
hands for his horse to feed on ; or to run to the 
far end of the plain for the fossils that lay there ; 
or to gather the flowers that grew on the hills at 
the edge of the plain ; he would have run and 
been back quickly — but now ! " 

" I have never done anything," he said. 

" Then tell me of that nothing. I like to know 
what other folks have been doing whose word I 
can believe. It is interesting. What was the 
first thing you ever wanted very much ? " 

The boy waited to remember, then began hesi- 
tatingly ; but soon the words flowed. In the 
smallest past we find an inexhaustible mine when 
once we begin to dig at it. 

A confused, disordered story — the little made 
large and the large small, and nothing showing 
its inward meaning. It is not till the past has 
receded many steps that before the clearest eyes 
it falls into co-ordinate pictures. It is not till the 
I we tell of has ceased to exist that it takes its 
place among other objective realities, and finds 
its true niche in the picture. The present and 



2o2 THE STORY OF 

the near past is a confusion, whose meaning flashes 
on us as it slinks away into the distance. 

The stranger lit one cigar from the end of 
another, and purled and listened with half-closed 
eyes. 

" I will remember more to tell you if you like," 
said the fellow. 

He spoke with that extreme gravity common 
to all very young things who feel deeply. . It is 
not till twenty that we learn to be in deadly ear- 
nest and to laugh. The stranger nodded, while 
the fellow sought for something more to relate. 
He would tell all to this man of his — all that he 
knew, all that he had felt, his most inmost, sorest 
thought. Suddenly the stranger turned upon him. 

" Boy," he said, " you are happy to be here." 

Waldo looked at him. Was his delightful one 
ridiculing him ? Here, with this brown earth and 
these low hills, while the rare wonderful world 
lay all beyond. Fortunate to be here ! 
, The stranger read his glance. 

" Yes," he said ; " here with the karroo-bushes 
and red sand. Do you wonder what I mean ? 
To all who have been born in the old faith there 
comes a time of danger, when the old slips from 
us, and we have not yet planted our feet on the 
new. We hear the voice from Sinai thundering 
no more, and the still small voice of reason is not 
yet heard. We have proved the religion our 
mothers fed us on to be a delusion ; in our bewilder- 
ment we see no rule by which to guide our steps 
Lday by day ; and yet every day we must step 
somewhere." The stranger leaned forward and 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 203 

spoke more quickly. " We have never once beerT~7 
taught by word or act to distinguish between / 
religion and the moral laws on which it has artfully / 
fastened itself, and from which it has sucked its 
vitality. When we have dragged down the weeds 
and creepers that covered the solid wall and have 
found them to be rotten wood, we imagine the 
wall to be rotten wood too. W r e find it is solid 
and standing only when we fall headlong against 
it. We have been taught that all right and wrong 
originate in the will of an irresponsible being. It 
is some time before we see how the inexorable 
'Thou shalt and shalt not' are carved into the 
nature of things. This in the time of danger." 

His dark, misty eyes looked into the boy's. 

" In the end experience will inevitably teach us 
that the laws for a wise and noble life have a 
foundation infinitely deeper than the fiat of any 
being, God or man, even in the groundwork of 
human nature. She will teach us that whoso 
sheddeth man's blood, though by man his blood 
be not shed, though no man avenge and no hell 
await, yet every drop shall blister on his soul and 
eat in the name of the dead. She will teach that 
whoso takes a love not lawfully his own, gathers a 
flower with a poison on its petals ; that whoso 
revenges, strikes with a sword that has two edges 
■ — one for his adversary, one for himself ; that who 
lives to himself is dead, though the ground is not 
yet on him ; that who wrongs another clouds his 
own sun ; and that who sins in secret stands 
accused and condemned before the one Judge who 
deals eternal justice — his own all-knowing self. 



204 THE STORY OF 

" Experience will teach us this, and reason will 
show us why it must be so ; but at first the world 
swings before our eyes, and no voice cries out, 
' This is the way, walk ye in it ! ' You are happy 
to be here, boy ! When the suspense fills you 
wtth pain you build stone walls and dig earth for 
relief. Others have stood where you stand to- 
day, and have felt as you feel ; and another relief 
has been offered them, and they have taken it. 

" When the day has come when they have seen 
the path in which they might walk, they have not 
the strength to follow it. Habits have fastened 
on them from which nothing but death can free 
them ; which cling closer than his sacerdotal 
sanctimony to a priest ; which feed on the intellect 
like a worm sapping energy, hope, creative power, 
all that makes a man higher than a beast — leaving 
only the power to yearn, to regret, and to sink 
lower in the abyss. 
/* " Boy," he said, and the listener was not more 
unsmiling now than the speaker, " you are happy 
to be here ! Stay where you are. If you ever 
pray, let it be only the one old prayer — ' Lead us 
not into temptation.' Live on here quietly. The 
time may yet come when you will be that which 
other men have hoped to be and never will be 
now." 

— "The stranger rose, shook the dust from his 
sleeve, and ashamed at his own earnestness, 
looked across the bushes for his horse. 

" We should have been on our way already," 
he said. " We shall have a long ride in the dark 
to-night." 



AN A FRICA N FA RM. 205 

Waldo hastened to fetch the animal ; but he 
returned leading it slowly. The sooner it came 
the sooner would its rider be gone. 

The stranger was opening his saddle-bag, in 
which were a bright French novel and an old 
brown volume. He took the last and held it out 
to the boy. 

" It may be of some help to you," he said, care- 
lessly, " it was a gospel to me when I first fell on 
it. You must not expect too much ; but it may 
give you a center round which to hang your ideas, 
instead of letting them lie about in a confusion 
that makes the head ache. We of this generation 
are not destined to eat and be satisfied as our 
fathers were ; we must be content to go hungry." 

He smiled his automaton smile, and rebuttoned 
the bag. Waldo thrust the book into his breast, 
and while he saddled the horse the stranger made 
inquiries as to the nature of the road and the dis- 
tance to the next farm. 

When the bags were fixed Waldo took up his 
wooden post and began to fasten it on to the 
saddle, tying it with the little blue cotton hand- 
kerchief from his neck. The stranger looked on 
in silence. When it was done the boy held the 
stirrup for him to mount. 

" What is your name ? " he inquired, ungloving 
his right hand, when he was in the saddle. 

The boy replied. 

" Well, I trust we shall meet again some day, 
sooner or later." 

He shook hands with the ungloved hand ; then 
drew on the glove, and touched his horse, 



2o6 THE STORY OF 

and rode slowly away. The boy stood to watch 
him. 

Once when the stranger had gone half across 
the plain he looked back. 

" Poor devil," he said, smiling and stroking his 
mustache. Then he looked to see if the little 
blue handkerchief were still safely knotted. 
" Poor devil ! " 

He smiled, and then he sighed wearily, very 
wearily. 

And Waldo waited till the moving speck had 
disappeared on the horizon ; then he stooped and 
kissed passionately a hoof-mark in the sand. 
Then he called his young birds together, and put 
his book under his arm, and walked home along,' 
the stone wall. There was a rare beauty to him 
in the sunshine that evening. 

CHAPTER III. 

GREGORY ROSE FINDS HIS AFFINITY. 

The new man, Gregory Rose, sat at the door 
of his dwelling, his arms folded, his legs crossed, 
and a profound melancholy seeming to rest over 
his soul. His house was a little square daub- 
and-wattle building, far out in the " karroo," two 
miles from the homestead. It was covered out- 
side with a somber coating of brown mud, two 
little panes being let into the walls for windows. 
Behind it were the " sheep-kraals," and to the 
right a large dam, now principally containing 
baked mud. Far off the little " kopje " concealed 



AN AFRICA!. FARM. 207 

the homestead, and was not itself an object con- 
spicuous enough to relieve the dreary monotony 
of the landscape. 

Before the door sat Gregory Rose in his shirt- 
sleeves, on a camp-stool, and ever and anon he 
sighed deeply. There was that in his counte- 
nance for which even his depressing circumstances 
failed to account. Again and again he looked 
at the little " kopje," at the milk-pail at his side, 
and at the brown pony, who a short way off 
cropped the dry bushes — and sighed. 

Presently he rose and went into his house. It 
was one tiny room, the whitewashed walls profusely 
covered with prints cut from the "Illustrated 
London News," and in which there was a notice- 
able preponderance of female faces and figures. 
A stretcher filled one end of the hut, and a rack for 
a gun and a little hanging looking-glass diversified 
the gable opposite, while in the center stood a 
chair and table. All was scrupulously neat and 
clean, for Gregory kept a little duster folded in 
the corner of his table-drawer, just as he had seen 
his mother do, and every morning before he went 
out he said his prayers, and made his bed, and 
dusted the table and the legs of the chairs, and 
even the pictures on the wall and the gun-rack. 
On this hot afternoon he took from beneath his 
pillow a watch-bag made by his sister Jemima, 
and took out the watch. Only half-past four ! 
With a suppressed groan he dropped it back and 
sat down beside the table. Half-past four I 
Presently he roused himself. He would write to 
his sister Jemima. He always wrote to her when 



2oS THE STORY OF 

he was miserable. She was his safety-valve. 
He forgot her when he was happy ; but he used 
her when he was wretched. 

He took out ink and paper. There was a- 
family crest and motto on the latter, for the Roses 
since coming to the colony had discovered that 
they were of distinguished lineage. Old Rose him- 
self, an honest English farmer, knew nothing of 
his noble descent ; but his wife and daughter 
knew — especially his daughter. There were Roses 
in England who kept a Park and dated from the 
Conquest. So the colonial " Rose Farm M became 
" Rose Manor " in remembrance of the ancestral 
domain, and the claim of the Roses to noble 
blood was established — in their own minds at least. 

Gregory took up one of the white, crested 
sheets ; but on deeper reflection he determined 
to take a pink one, as more suitable to the state 
of his feelings. He began : 

" Kopje Alone, 
"Monday Afternoon. 

" My dear Jemima — " 

Then he looked up into the little glass opposite 
It was a youthful face reflected there, with curl- 
ing brown beard and hair ; but in the dark blue 
eyes there was a look of languid longing that 
touched him. He re-dipped his pen and wrote : — ■ 

" When I look up into the little glass that hangs 
opposite me, I wonder if that changed and sad 
face " 

Here he sat still and reflected. It sounded 
almost as if he might be conceited or unmanly to 
be looking at his own face in the glass. No, that 



AJV AFRICAN FARM. 209 

would not do. So he looked for another pink 
sheet and began again. 

" Kopje Alone, 
" Monday Afternoon. 

" Dear Sister : 

" It is hardly six months since I left you 
to come to this spot, yet could you now see me I 
know v/hat you would say, I know what mother 
would say — ' Can that be our Greg— that thing 
with the strange look in his eyes ? ' 

" Yes, Jemima, it is your Greg, and the change 
has been coming over me ever since I came here ; 
but it is greatest since yesterday. You know 
what sorrows I have passed through, Jemima : 
how unjustly I was always treated at school, the 
masters keeping me back and calling me a block- 
head, though, as they themselves allowed, I had 
the best memory of any boy in the school, and 
could repeat whole books from beginning to end. 
You know how cruelly father always used me, call- 
ing me a noodle and a milksop, just because he 
couldn't understand my fine nature. You know 
how he has made a farmer of me instead of a 
minister, as I ought to have been ; you know it 
all, Jemima ; and how I have borne it all, not as 
a woman, who whines for every touch, but as a 
man should — -in silence. 

" But there are things, there is a thing, which 
the soul longs to pour forth into a kindred ear. 

" Dear sister, have you ever known what it is to 
keep wanting and wanting and wanting to kiss 
some one's mouth, and you may not ; to touch 
some one's hand, and you cannot ? I am in love, 
Jemima. 
14 



2 1 o THE STOR Y OF 

"The old Dutch-woman from whom I hire this 
place has a little step-daughter, and her name 
begins with E. 

"She is English. I do not know how her 
father came to marry a Boer-woman. It makes 
me feel so strange to put down that letter, that I 
can hardly go on writing — E. I've loved her 
ever since I came here. For weeks I have not 
been able to eat or drink ; my very tobacco when 
I smoke has no taste ; and I can remain for no 
more than five minutes in one place, and some- 
times feel as though I were really going mad. 

" Every evening I go there to fetch my milk. 
Yesterday she gave me some coffee. The spoon 
fell on the ground. She picked it up ; when she. 
gave it me her finger touched mine. Jemima, I 
do not know if I fancied it — I shivered hot, and 
she shivered too ! I thought, ' It is all right ; she 
will be mine ; she loves me ! ' Just then, Jemima, 
in came a fellow, a great, coarse fellow, a German 
— a ridiculous fellow, with curls right down to his 
shoulders ; it makes one sick to look at him. He's 
only a servant of the Boer-woman's, and a low, 
vulgar, uneducated thing, that's never been to 
boarding-school in his life. He had been to the 
next farm seeking sheep. When he came in she 
said, ' Good-evening, Waldo. Have some coffee ! ' 
and she kissed him. 

" All last night I heard nothing else but ' Have 
some coffee ; have some coffee.' If I went to 
sleep for a moment I dreamed that her finger was 
pressing mine ; but when I woke with a start I 
heard her say, ' Good-evening, Waldo. Have 
some coffee I ' 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 211 

" Is this madness ? 

"I have not eaten a mouthful to-day. This 
evening I go and propose to her. If she refuses 
me I shall go and kill myself to-morrow. There 
is a dam of water close by. The sheep have 
drunk most of it up, but there is still enough if I 
tie a stone to my neck. 

" It is a choice between death and madness. I 
can endure no more. If this sheruld be the last 
letter you ever get from me, think of me tenderly, 
and forgive me. Without her, life would be a 
howling wilderness, a long tribulation. She is 
my affinity ; the one love of my life, of my youth, 
of my manhood ; my sunshine ; my God-given 
blossom. 

" ' They never loved who dreamed that they loved once, 

And who saith, " I loved once " ? 

Not angels, whose deep eyes look down through realms 
of light ! ' 

" Your disconsolate brother, on what is, in all 
probability, the last and distracted night of his 
life, 

" Gregory Nazianzen Rose. 

" P. S— Tell mother to take care of my pearl 
studs. I left them in the wash-hand-stand drawer. 
Don't let the children get hold of them. 

" P .P. S. — I shall take this letter with me to 
the farm. If I turn down one corner you may 
know I have been accepted ; if not you may know 
it is all up with your heart-broken brother. 

"G. N. R." 



212 THE STORY OF 

Gregory having finished this letter, read it over 
with much approval, put it in an envelope, ad- 
dressed it, and sat contemplating the ink-pot, 
somewhat relieved in mind. 

The evening turned out chilly and very windy 
after the day's heat. From afar off, as Gregory 
neared the homestead on the brown pony, he 
could distinguish a little figure in a little red 
cloak at the door of the cow-kraal. Em leaned 
over the poles that barred the gate, and watched 
the frothing milk run through the black fingers 
of the herdsman, while the unwilling cows stood 
with tethered heads by the milking poles. She 
had thrown the red cloak over her own head, and 
held it under her chin with a little hand to keep 
from her ears the wind, that playfully shook it, and 
tossed the little fringe of yellow hair into her eyes. 

" Is it not too cold for you to be standing here ? " 
said Gregory, coming softly close to her. 

" Oh, no ; it is so nice. I always come to 
watch the milking. That red cow with the short 
horns is bringing up the calf of the white cow 
that died. She loves it so — just as if it were her 
own. It is so nice to see her lick its little ears. 
Just look ! " 

" The clouds are black. I think it is going to 
rain to-night," said Gregory. 

" Yes," answered Em, looking up as well as she 
could for the little yellow fringe. 

" But I'm sure you must be cold," said Gregory, 
and put his hand under the cloak, and found 
there a small fist doubled up, soft and very warm. 
He held it fast in his hand. 



AN AFRICAN FARM, 



213 



"Oh, Em, I love you better than all the world 
besides ! Tell me, do you love me a little ? " 

" Yes, I do," said Em, hesitating, and trying 
softly to free her hand. 

" Better than everything ; better than all the 
world, darling ? " he asked, bending down so low 
that the yellow hair was blown into his eyes. 

" I don't know," said Em, gravely. " I do love 
you very much ; but I love my cousin who is at 
school, and Waldo, very much. You see I have 
known them so long ! " ' 

" Oh, Em, do not talk to me so coldly," Greg- 
ory cried, seizing the little arm that rested en 
the gate, and pressing it till she was half afraid. 
The herdsman had moved away to the other end 
of the " kraal " now, and the cows, busy with their 
calves, took no notice of the little human farce. 
" Em, if you talk so to me I will go mad ! You 
must love me, love me better than all ! You must 
give yourself to me. I have loved you since that 
first moment when I saw you walking by the stone 
wall with the jug in your hands. You were made 
for me, created for me ! I will love you till I die ! 
Oh, Em, dd not be so cold, so cruel to me ! " 

He held her arm so tightly that her fingers re- 
laxed their hold, and the cloak fluttered down on 
to the ground, and the wind played more roughly 
than ever with the little yellow head. 

" I do love you very much," she said ; " but I 
do not know if I want to marry you. I love you 
better than Waldo, but I can't tell if I love you 
better than Lyndall. If you would let me wait 
a we'ek, I think perhaps I could tell you." 



214 THE STORY OF 

Gregory picked up the cloak and wrapped it 
round her. 

" If you could but love me as I love you/' he 
said ; " but no woman can love as a man can. I 
will wait till next Saturday. I will not once come 
near you till then. Good-bye ! Oh. Em," he said, 
turning again, and twining his arm about her, and 
kissing her surprised little mouth, " if you are not 
my wife I cannot live. I have never loved another 
woman, and I never shall ! — never, never ! " 

" You make me afraid," said Em. " Come let 
us go, and I will fill your pail." 

" I want no milk. — Good-bye ! You will not see 
me again till Saturday." 

Late that night, when every one else had gone 
to bed, the yellow-haired little woman stood alone 
in the kitchen. She had come to fill the kettle 
for the next morning's coffee, and now stood 
before the fire. The warm reflection lit the grave 
old-womanish little face, that was so unusually 
thoughtful this evening. 

" Better than all the world ; better than every- 
thing ; he loves me better than everything ! " 
She said the words aloud, as if they were more 
easy to believe if she spoke them so. She had 
given out so much love in her little life, and had 
got none of it back with interest. Now one said, 
" I love you better than all the world." One loved 
her better than she loved him. How suddenly 
rich she was. She kept clasping and unclasping 
her hands. So a beggar feels who falls asleep on 
the pavement wet and hungry, and who wakes in 
a palace-hall with servants and lights,, and a feast 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 213 

before him. Of course the beggar's is only a 
dream, and he wakes from it ; and this was real. 
Gregory had said to her, " I will love you as 
long as I live." She said the words over and 
over to herself like a song. 

" I will send for him to-morrow, and I will tell 
him how I love him back,"»she said. , 

But Em needed not to send for him. Gregory 
discovered on reaching home that Jemima's letter 
was still in his pocket. And, therefore, much as 
he disliked the appearance of vacillation and 
weakness, he was obliged to be at the farm-house 
before sunrise to post it. 

" If I see her," Gregory said, " I shall only bow 
to her. She shall see that I am a man, one who 
keeps his word." 

As to Jemima's letter, he had turned down one 
corner of the page, and then turned it back, leav- 
ing a deep crease. That would show that he was 
neither accepted nor rejected, but that matters 
were in an intermediate condition. _ It was a more 
poetical way than putting it in plain words. 

Gregory was barely in time with his letter, for 
Waldo was starting when he reached the home- 
stead, and Em was on the door-step to see him 
off. When he had given the letter, and Waldo 
had gone, Gregory bowed stiffly and prepared to 
remount his own pony, but somewhat slowly. It 
was still early ; none of the servants were about. 
Em came up close to him and put her little hand 
softly on his arm as he stood by his horse. 

" I do love you best of all," she said. She was 
not frightened now, however much he kissed 



2i6 THE STORY OF 

her. " I wish I was beautiful and nice," she 
added, looking up into his eyes as he held her 
against his breast. 

" My darling, to me you are more beautiful than 
all the women in the world ; dearer ■ to me than 
everything it holds. If you were in hell I would 
go after you to find you there ! If you were dead, 
though my body moved, my soul would be under 
the ground with you. All life as I pass it with 
you in my arms will be perfect to me. It will 
pass, pass like a ray of sunshine." 

Em thought how beautiful and grand his face 
was as she looked up into it. She raised her hand 
gently and put it on his forehead. 

" You are so silent, so cold, my Em," he cried. 
" Have you nothing to say to me ? " 

A little shade of wonder filled her eyes. 

" I will do everything you tell me," she said. 

What else could she say ? Her idea of love 
was only service. 

" Then, my own precious one, promise never 
to kiss that fellow again. I cannot bear that you 
should love any one but me. You must not ! I 
will not have it ! If every relation I had in the 
world were to die to-morrow, . I would be quite 
happy if I still only had you ! My darling, my 
love, why are you so cold ? Promise me not to love 
him any more. If you ask me to do anything for 
you, I would do it, though it cost my life." 

Em put her hand very gravely round his neck. 

" I will never kiss him," she said, " and I will 
try not to love any one else. But I do not know 
if I will be able." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 2 1 7 

" Oh, my darling, I think of you all night, all 
day. I think of nothing else, love nothing else," 
he said, folding his arms about her. 

Em was a little conscience-stricken ; even that 
morning she had found time to remember that in 
six months her cousin would come back from 
school, and she had thought to remind Waldo of 
the lozenges for his cough, even when she saw 
Gregory coming. 

" I do not know how it is, she said numbly, 
nestling to him, " but I cannot love you so much 
as you love me. Perhaps it is because I am only 
a woman ; but I do love you as much as I can." 
Now the Kaffir maids were coming from the 
huts. He kissed her again, eyes and mouth and 
hands, and left her. 

Tant' Sannie was well satisfied when told of 
the betrothment. She herself contemplated 
marriage within the year with one or other of her 
numerous " vrijers," and she suggested that the 
weddings might take place together. 

Em set to work busily to prepare her own house- 
hold linen and wedding garments. Gregory was 
with her daily, almost hourly, and the six months 
which elapsed before Lyndall's return passed, as 
he felicitously phrased it, " like a summer night, 
when you are dreaming of some one you love." 
Late one evening, Gregory sat by his little love, 
turning the handle of her machine as she drew 
her work through it, and they talked of the 
changes they would make when the Boer- worn an 
was gone, and the farm belonged to them ilone. 
There should be a new room here, and ? kraal 



2l8 THE STORY OF 

there. So they chatted on. Suddenly Gregory 
dropped the handle, and impressed a fervent kiss 
on the fat hand that guided the linen. 

" You are so beautiful, Em," said the lover, 
"It comes over me in a flood suddenly, how I 
love you." 

Em smiled. 

" Tant' Sannie says when I am her age no one 
will look at me ; and it is true. My hands are 
as short and broad as a duck's foot, and my fore- 
head is so low, and I haven't any nose. I can't 
be pretty." 

She laughed softly. It was so nice to think 
he should be so blind. 

" When my cousin comes to-morrow you will 
see a beautiful woman, Gregory," she added pres- 
ently. " She is like a little queen : her shoulders 
are so upright, and her head looks as though it 
ought to have a little crown upon it. You must 
come to see her to-morrow as soon as she comes. 
I am sure you will love her." 

" Of course I shall come to see her, since she 
is your cousin ; but do you think I could ever 
think any woman as lovely as I think you ? " 

He fixed his seething eyes upon her. 

" You could not help seeing that she is prettier," 
said Em, slipping her right hand into his ; " but 
you will never be able to like any one so much 
as you like me." 

Afterward, when she wished her lover good- 
night, she stood upon the door-step to call a 
greeting after him ; and she waited, as she always 
did, till the brown pony's hoofs became inaudible 
behind the " kopje." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 2 19 

Then she passed through the room where Tant' 
Sannie lay snoring, and through the little 
room that was all draped in white, waiting for 
her cousin's return, on to her own room. 

She went to the chest of drawers to put away 
the work she had finished, and sat down on the 
floor before the lowest drawer. In it were the 
things she was preparing for her marriage. Piles 
of white linen, and some aprons and quilts ; and 
in the little box in the corner a spray of orange- 
blossom which she had brought from a smouse. 
There, too, was a ring Gregory had given her, 
and a veil his sister had sent, and there was a 
little roll of fine embroidered work which Trana 
had given her. It was too fine and good even 
for Gregory's wife — just right for something very 
small and soft. She would keep it. And she 
touched it gently with her forefinger, smiling; 
and then she blushed and hid it far behind the 
other things. She knew so well all that was in 
that drawer, and yet she turned them all over as 
though she saw them 'for the first time, packed 
them all out, and packed them all in, without one 
fold or crumple ; and then sat down and looked 
at them. 

To-morrow evening when Lyndall came she 
would bring her here, and show it her all. Lyn- 
dall would so like to see it— the little wreath, and 
the ring, and the white veil ! It would be so 
nice ! Then Era fell to seeing pictures. Lyn- 
dall should live with them till she herself got 
married some day. 

Every day when Gregory came home, tired from 



220 THE STORY OF 

his work, he would look about and say, " Where 
is my wife ? Has no one seen my wife ? Wife, 
some coffee -I " and she would give him some. 

Em's little face grew very grave at last, and 
she knelt up and extended her hands over the', 
drawer of linen. 

" Oh, God ! " she said, " I am so glad ! I do 
not know what I have done that I should be so 
glad, Thank you ! " 

CHAPTER IV. 

LYNDALL. 

She was more like a princess, yes, far more 
like a princess, than the lady who still hung on 
the wall in Tant' Sannie's bedroom. So Em 
thought. She leaned back in the little arm- 
chair ; she wore a gray dressing-gown, and her 
long hair was combed out and hung to the ground. 
Em, sitting before her, looked up with mingled 
respect and admiration. 

Lyndall was tired after her long journey, and 
had come to her room early. Her eyes ran over 
the familiar objects. Strange to go away for 
four years, and come back, and find that the 
candle standing on the dressing-table still cast 
the shadow of an old crone's head in the corner 
beyond the clothes-horse. Strange that even a 
shadow should last longer than the man ! She 
looked about among the old familiar objects ; all 
was there, but the old self was gone. 

" What are vou noticing ? " asked Em. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 2 2 1 

"Nothing and everything. I thought the 
windows were higher. If I were you, when I get 
this place I should raise the walls. There 's not 
room to breathe here ; one suffocates." 

" Gregory is going to make many alterations, 
said Em ; and drawing nearer to the gray dress- 
ing-gown respectfully. " Do you like him, Lyn- 
dall ? Is he not handsome ? " 

" He must have been a fine baby," said Lyn- 
dall, looking at the white dimity curtain that 
hung above the window. 
Em was puzzled. 

" There are some men," said Lyndall, whom 
you never can believe were babies at all ; and 
others you never see without thinking how very 
nice they must have looked when they wore socks 
and pink sashes." 

Em remained silent ; then she said with a little 
dignity, " When you know him you will love him 
as I do. When I compare other people with 
him, they seem so weak and little. Our hearts 
are so cold, our loves are mixed up with so many 
other things. But he— no one is worthy of his 
love. I am not. It is so great and pure. 

" You need not make yourself unnappy on that 
point—your poor return for his love, my dear, 
said Lyndall. " A man's love is a fire of olive- 
wood. It leaps higher every moment ; it roars, 
it blazes, it shoots out red flames ; it threatens to 
wrap you round and devour you— you who stand 
by like an icicle in the glow of its fierce warmth. 
You are self-reproached at your own chilliness 
and want of reciprocity. The next day, wben 



222 THE STORY OF 

you go to warm your hands a little, you find a 
.few ashes ! 'Tis a long love and cool against 
a short love and hot , men, at all events, have 
nothing to complain of." 

" You speak so because you do not know 
men," said Em, instantly assuming the dignity of 
superior knowledge so universally affected by 
affianced and married women in discussing man's 
nature with their uncontracted sisters. 

" You will know them, too, some day, and *hen 
you will think differently," said Em, with the con- 
descending magnanimity which superior knowl- 
edge can always afford to show to ignorance. 

Lyndall's little lip quivered in a manner indi- 
cative of intense amusement. She twirled a mas- 
sive ring upon her forefinger — a ring more suit-' 
able for the hand of a man, and noticeable in 
design — a diamond cross let into gold, with the 
Initials " R. R." below it. 

" Ah, Lyndall," Em cried, " perhaps you are 
engaged yourself — that is why you smile. Yes ; 
I am sure you are. Look at this ring ! " 

Lyndall drew the hand quickly from her. 

" I am not in so great a hurry to put my neck 
beneath any man's foot ; and I do not so greatly 
admire the crying of babies," she said, as she 
closed her eyes half wearily and leaned back in 
the chair. " There are other women glad of 
such work." 

Em felt rebuked and ashamed. How could 
she take Lyndall and show her the white linen 
and the wreath and the embroidery ? She was 
r.uiet for a little while, and then began to talk 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 223 

about Trana and the old farm-servants, till she 
oaw her companion was weary ; then she rose 
and left her for the night. But after Em was 
gone Lyndall sat on, watching the old crone's 
i : ace in the corner, and with a weary look, as 
though the whole world's weight rested on these 
frail young shoulders. 

The next morning, Waldo, starting off before 
breakfast with a bag of mealies slung over his 
shoulder to feed the ostriches, heard a light step 
behind him. 

" Wait for me ; I am coming with you," said 
Lyndall, adding as she came up to him, " If I 
had not gone to look for you yesterday you 
would not have come to greet me till now. Do 
you not like me any longer, Waldo ? " 

" Yes — but — you are changed." 

It was the old clumsy, hesitating mode of 
speech. 

" You liked the pinafores better ? " she said 
quickly. She wore a dress of a simple cotton 
fabric, but very fashionably made, and on hef 
head was a broad white hat. To Waldo she 
seemed superbly attired. She saw it. " My 
dress has changed a little," she said, " and 
I also ; but not to you. Hang the bag over your 
other shoulder, that I may see yOur face. 
You say so little that if one does not look 
at you, you are an uncomprehended cipher. 
Waldo changed the bag and they walked on side 
by side. " You have improved," she said. 
" Do you know that I have sometimes wished to 
see you while I was away ; not often, but still 
sometimes." ,- 



224 THE STORY OF 

They were at the gate of the first camp now. 
Waldo threw over a bag of mealies, and they 
walked on over the dewy ground. 

" Have you learnt much ? " he asked her 
simply, remembering how she had once said, 
" When I come back again I shall know every- 
thing that a human being can." 
She laughed. 

f^ " Are you thinking of my old boast ? Yes ; I 
have learnt something, though hardly what I ex- 
pected, and not quite so much. In the first place, 
I have learnt that one of my ancestors must have 
been a very great fool; for they say nothing 
comes out in a 1 man but one of his forefathers 
possessed it before him. In the second place, I 
have discovered that of all cursed places under 
the sun, where the hungriest soul can hardly 
pick up a few grains of knowledge, a girl's board- 
ing-school is the worst. They are called finishing 
schools, and the name tells accurately what they 
are. They finish everything but imbecility and 
I weakness, and that they cultivate. They are 
nicely adapted machines for experimenting on 
I the question, ' Into how little space a human 
| soul can be crushed ? ' I have seen some souls 
I so compressed that they would have fitted into a 
I small thimble, and found room to move there— 
l wide room. A woman who has been for many 
\ years at one of those places carries the mark of 
| the beast on her till she dies, though she may 
I expand a little afterward, when she breathes in 
• the free world." 

" Were you miserable ? " he asked, looking at 
her with quick anxiety. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 225 

"I?— -no. I am never miserable and never 
happy. I wish I were. But I should have run 
away from the place on the fourth day, and hired 
myself to the first Boer- worn an whose farm I 
came to, to make fire under her soap-pot, if I had 
to live as the rest of the drove did. Can you" 
form an idea, Waldo, of what it must be to be 
shut up with cackling old women, who are without 
knowledge of life, without love of the beautiful, 
without strength, to have your soul cultured by 
them ? It is suffocation only to breathe the airj 
they breathe ; but I made them give me room. 
I told them I should leave, and they knew I 
came there on my own account ; so they gave 
me a bedroom without the companionship of one 
of those things that were having their brains 
slowly diluted and squeezed out of them. I did 
not learn music, because I had no talent; and 
when the drove made cushions, and hideous 
flowers that the roses laugh at, and a footstool 
in six weeks that a machine would have made 
better in five minutes, I went to my room. 
With the money saved from such work I bought 
books and newspapers, and at night I sat up. 
I read and epitomized what I read ; and I 
found time to write some plays, and find out how 
hard it is to make your thoughts look anything 
but imbecile fools when you paint them with ink 
on paper. In the holidays I learnt a great deal 
more. I made acquaintances, saw a few places 
and many people, and some different ways of 
living, which is more than any books can show 
one. On the whole, I am not dissatisfied with 



226 THE STORY OF 

my four years. I have not learnt what I ex- 
pected ; but I have learnt something else. What 
have you been doing ? " 

" Nothing." 

" That is not possible. I shall find out by 
and by." 

They still stepped on side by side over the 
dewy bushes. Then suddenly she turned on him. 

" Don't you wish you were a woman, Waldo ? " 

" No,'* he answered readily. 

She laughed. 

" I thought not. Even you are too worldly- 
wise for that. I never met a man who did. This 
is a pretty ring,"' she said, holding out her little 
hand, that the morning sun might make the dia- 
monds sparkle. " Worth fifty pounds at least. I 
will give it to the first man who tells me he would 
like to be a woman. There might be one on 
Robbin Island * who would win it perhaps, but I 
doubt it even there. It is delightful to be a 
Ionian ; but every man thanks the Lord devoutly 
achat he isn't one." 

She drew her hat to one side to keep the sun 
out of her eyes as she walked. Waldo looked at 
tier so intently that he stumbled over the bushes. 
Yes, this was his little Lyndall who had worn the 
check pinafores ; he saw it now, and he walked 
closer beside her. They reached the next 
wrap. 

" Let us wait at this camp and watch the birds," 
sLe said, as an ostrich hen came bounding toward 

♦Lunatics at the Cape are sent to Robbin Island, 



AN A FRICA N FA RM. 227 

them, with velvety wings outstretched, while far 
away over the bushes the head of the cock was 
visible as he sat brooding on the eggs. 

Lyndall folded her arms on the gate bar, and 
Waldo threw his empty bag on the wall and leaned 
beside her. 

" I like these birds," she said ; " they share 
each other's work, and are companions. Do 
you take an interest in the position of women, 
Waldo ? " 

" No." 

" I thought not. No one does, unless they are 
in need of a subject upon which to show their 
wit. And as for you, from of old you can see 
nothing that is not separated from you by a few 
millions of miles, and strewed over with mystery. 

If women were the inhabitants of Jupiter, of 
whom you had happened to hear something, you 
would pore over us and our condition night and 
day ; but because we are before your eyes you 
never look at us. You care nothing that this is 
ragged and ugly," she said, putting her little 
finger on his sleeve ; " but you strive mightily to 
make an imaginary leaf on an old stick beautiful. 
I'm sorry you don't care for the position of 
women : I should have liked us to be friends ; 
and it is the only thing about which I think much 
or feel much — if, indeed, I have any feeling about 
anything," she added flippantly, readjusting her 
dainty little arms. " When I was a baby, I fancy 
my parents left me out in the frost one night, and 
I got nipped internally — it feels so ! " 

" I have only a few old thoughts," he said, "and 



228 THE STORY OF 

I think them over and over again ; always begin- 
ning where I left off. I never get any further. I 
am weary of them." 

" Like an old hen that sits on its eggs month 
after month and they never come out?" she said 
quickly. " I am so pressed in upon by new 
things that, lest they should trip one another up, 
I have to keep forcing them back. My head 
swings sometimes. But this one thought stands, 
never goes — if I might but be one of those born 
in the future ; then, perhaps, to be born a woman 
will not be to be born branded." 

Waldo looked at her.. It was hard to say 
whether she were in earnest or mocking. 

" I know it is foolish. Wisdom never kicks at 
the iron walls it can't bring down," she said. " But 
we are cursed, Waldo, born cursed from the time 
our mothers bring us into the world till the shrouds 
are put on us. Do not look at me- as though I 
were talking nonsense. Everything has two sides 
- — the outside that is ridiculous, and the inside 
that is solemn." 

" I am not laughing," said the boy sedately 
enough ; " but what curses you ! " 

He thought she would not reply to him, she 
waited so long. 

" It is not what is done to us, but what is made 
of us," she said at last, " that wrongs us. No 
man can be really injured but by what modifies 
himself. We all enter the world little plastic 
beings, with so much natural force, perhaps, but 
for the rest — blank • and the world tells us what 
we are to be, and shapes us by the ends it sets 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 229 

before us. To you it says— Work ; and to us it 
sa vs__ Seem ! To you it says— As you approxi- 
mate to man's highest ideal of God, as your arm 
is strong and your knowledge great and the power- 
to labor is with you, so you shall gam all that 
human heart desires. To us it says-Strength 
shall not help you, nor knowledge, nor labor. 
You shall gain what men gam, but by other 
means. And so the world makes men and 

women. . „ . „. . , .. u 

" Look at this little chm of mine, Waldo, with 
the dimple in it. It is but a small part of my 
person; but though I had a knowledge of ail 
things under the sun, and the wisdom to use it, 
and the deep loving heart of an angel, it would 
not stead me through life like this little chin. I 
can win money with it, I can win love ; I can win 
power with it, I can win fame. What would 
knowledge help me ? The less a woman has in 
her head the lighter she is for climbing. _ I once 
heard an old man say that he never saw intellect 
help a woman so much as a pretty ankle ; and it 
was the truth. They begin to shape us t Q> our 
cursed end," she said, with her lips drawn into 
look as though they smiled, "when we are tiny 
things in shoes and socks. We sit with our little 
feet drawn up under us in the window, and look 
out at the boys in their happy play. We want 
to go. Then a loving hand is laid on us : Little 
one, you cannot go,' they say, 'your little face 
will burn, and your nice white dress be spoiled. 
We feel it must be for our good, it is so lovingly 
gaid ; but we cannot understand ; and we kneel 



£3$ tb& irony om 

still with one little cheek wistfully pressed against 
the pane. Afterward we go and thread blue 
beads, and make a string for our neck ; and we 
go and stand before the glass. We see the com- 
plexion we were not to spoil, and the white frock, 
and we look into our own great eyes. Then the 
curse begins to act on us. It finishes its work 
when we are grown women, who no more look 
out wistfully at a more healthy life ; we are con- 
tented. We fit our sphere as a Chinese woman's 
foot fits he.r shoe, exactly, as though God had 
made both — and yet He knows nothing of either. 
In some of us the shaping to our end has been 
quite completed. The parts we are not to use 
have been quite atrophied, and have even dropped 
off ; but in others, and we are not less to be pitied, 
they have been weakened and left. We wear the 
bandages, but our limbs have not grown to them ; 
we know that we are compressed, and chafe 
against them. 

" But what does it help ? A little bitterness, a 
little longing when we are young, a little futile 
searching for work, a little passionate striving 
for room for the exercise of our powers — and then 
we go with the drove. A woman must march 
with her regiment. In the end she must be trod- 
den down or go with it ; and if she is wise she 
goes. 

" I see in your great eyes what you are think- 
ing," she said, glancing at him ; " I always know 
what the person I am talking to is thinking of. 
How is this woman who makes such a fuss worse 
off than I ? I will show you by a very little 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 23: 



example. We stand here at this gate this morn- 
ing, both poor, both young, both friendless ; there 
is not much to choose between us. Let us turn 
away just as we are, to make our way in life. 
This evening you will come to a farmer s house 
The farmer, albeit you come alone and on toot, 
will give you a pipe of tobacco and a cup of coffee 
and a bed. If he has no dam to build and no 
child to teach, to-morrow you can go on your way 
with a friendly greeting of the hand I, it 1 come 
to the same place to-night, will have strange 
questions asked me, strange glances cast on me 
The Boer-wife will shake her head and give me 
food to eat with the Kaffirs, and a right to sleep 
with the dogs. That would be the first step in 
our progress-a very little one, but every step to 
the end would repeat it. We were equals once 
when we lay new-born babes on our nurses knees. 
We will be equals again when they tie up our jaws 
for the last sleep." 

Waldo looked in wonder at the little quivering 
face ; it was a glimpse into a world of passion 
and feeling wholly new to him. 

"Mark you," she said, "we have always this 
advantage over you-we can at any time step into 
ease and competence, where you must labor pa- 
tiently for it. A little weeping, a little wheedling, 
a little self-degradation, a little careful use of our 
advantages, and then some man will say— Come, 
be my wife ! ' With good looks and youth mar- 
riage is easy to attain. There are men enough ; 
bufa woman who has sold herself, even for a ring 
and a new name, need hold her skirt aside for no 



232 THE STORY OF 

creature in the street. They both earn their bread 
in one way. Marriage for love is the beautifulest 
external symbol of the union of souls ; marriage 
without it is the uncleanliest traffic that defiles the 
world." She ran her little finger savagely along 
the topmost bar, shaking off the dozen little dew- 
drops that still hung there. " And they tell us 
that we have men's chivalrous attention ! " she 
cried. "When we ask to be doctors, lawyers, 
law-makers, anything but ill-paid drudges, they 
say — No ; but you have men's chivalrous atten- 
tion ; now think of that and be satisfied ! What 
would you do without it ? " 

The bitter little silvery laugh, so seldom heard, 
rang out across the bushes. She bit her little 
teeth together. 

" I was coming up in Cobb & Co.'s the other 
day. At a little wayside hotel we had to change 
the large coach for a small one. We were ten 
passengers, eight men and two women. As I 
sat in the house the gentlemen came and whis- 
pered to me, ' There is not room for all in the new 
coach, take your seat quickly.' We hurried out, 
and they gave me the best seat, and covered me 
with rugs, because it was drizzling. Then the 
last passenger came running up to the coach — 
an old woman with a wonderful bonnet, and a 
black shawl pinned with a yellow pin. 

" ' There is no room,' they said ; ' you must 
wait till next week's coach takes you up ; ' but she 
climbed on to the step, and held on at the window 
with both hands. 

" ' My son-in-law is ill, and I must go and see 
him,' she said. 



A AT AFRICAN FARM. 233 

Ui My good woman/ said one, * I am really ex- 
ceedingly sorry that your son-in-law is ill; but 
there is absolutely no room for you here/ 

" * You had better get clown,' said another, ' or 
the wheel will catch you.' 

" I got up to give her my place. 

" Oh, no, no ! ' they cried, ' we will not allow 
that.' 

" * I will rather kneel,' said one, and he crouched 
down at my feet ; so the woman came in. 

" There were nine of us in that coach, and only 
one showed chivalrous attention — and that was a 
woman to a woman. 

" I shall be old and ugly too one day, and I 
jehall look for men's chivalrous help, but I shall 
not find it. 

" The bees are very attentive to the flowers till 
their honey is done, and then they fly over them. 
I don't know if the flowers feel grateful to the 
bees ; they are great fools if they do." 

" But some women," said Waldo, speaking as 
though the words forced themselves from him at 
that moment, " some women have power." 

She lifted her beautiful eyes to his face. • <*T\ 

"Power! Did you ever hear of men being I 
asked whether other souls should have power or | 
not ? It is born in them. You may dam up the 
fountain of water, and make it a stagnant marsh, 
or you may let it run free and do its work ; but 
you cannot say whether it shall be there ; it is 
there. And it will act, if not openly for good, then 
covertly for evil ; but it will act. If Goethe had 
been stolen away a child, and reared in a robbei 



234 THE STORY OF 

horde in the depths of a German forest, da you 
think the world would have had ' Faust ' and ' Iphe- 
genie ' ? But he would have been Goethe still — 
stronger, wiser than his fellows. At night, round 
their watch-fire, he would have chanted wild songs 
of rapine and murder, till the dark faces about 
him were moved and trembled. His songs would 
have echoed on from father to son, and nerved 
the heart and arm — for evil. Do you think if 
Napoleon had been born a woman that he would 
have been contented to give small tea-parties and 
talk small scandal ? He would have risen ; but 
the world would not have heard of him as it hears 
of him now — a man great and kingly, with all his 
sins ; he would have left one of those names that 
stain the leaf of every history — the names of 
women, who, having power, but being denied the 
right to exercise it openly, rule in the dark, cov- 
ertly, and by stealth, through the man whose pas- 
sions they feed on and by whom they climb. 

"Power !" she said suddenly, smiting her little 
hand upon the rail. " Yes, we have power ; and 
since we are not to expend it in tunneling mount- 
ains, nor healing diseases, nor making laws, nor 
money, nor on any extraneous object, we expend 
it on you. You are our goods, our merchandise, 
our material for operating on ; we buy you, we , 
sell you, we make fools of you, we act the wily 
old Jew with you, we keep six of you crawling to 
our little feet, and praying only for a touch of our 
little hand ; and they say truly, there was never 
an ache or pain or a broken heart but a woman 
was at the bottom of it. We are not to study law, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 235 

nor science, nor art, so we study you. There is 
never a nerve or fiber in your man's nature but we 
know it. We keep six of you dancing in the palm 
of one little hand," she said, balancing her out- 
stretched arm gracefully, as though tiny beings 
disported themselves in its palm. " There— we 
throw you away, and you sink to the Devil," she 
said, folding her arms composedly. " There was 
never a man who said one word for woman but he 
said two for man and three for the whole human 
race." 

She watched the bird pecking up the last yellow 
grains ; but Waldo looked only at her. 

When she spoke again it was very measuredly. 
"They bring weighty arguments against us 
when we ask for the perfect freedom of women," 
she said ; "but when you come to the objections, 
they are like pumpkin devils with candles inside, 
hollow, and can't bite. They say that women do 
not wish for the sphere and freedom we ask for 
them, and would not use it ! 

" If the bird does like its cage, and does like its 
sugar and will not leave it, why keep the door so 
very carefully shut ? Why not open it, only a 
little ? Do they know, there is many a bird will not 
break its wings against the bars, but would fly if the 
doors were open." She knit her forehead, and 
leaned further over the bars. _ - 

" Then they say, ' If the women have the liberty 
you ask for, they will be found in positions for 
which they are not fitted ! ' If two men climb 
one ladder, did you ever see the weakest any- 
where but at the foot ? The surest sign of fitness 



\ 



236 THE STORY OF 

is success. The weakest never wins but where 
there is handicapping. Nature, left to -herself, 
will as beautifully apportion a man's work to his 
capacities as long ages ago she graduated the 
colors on thebird's breast. If we are not fit you 
give us to no purpose the right to labor ; the work 
will fall out of our hands into those that are wiser." 

She talked more rapidly as she went on, as 
one talks of that over which they have brooded 
long, and which lies near their hearts. 
* Waldo watched her intently. 

" They say women have one great and noble 
work left them, and they do it ill.— That is true , 
they do it execrably. It is the work that demands 
the broadest culture, and they have not even the 
narrowest. The lawyer may see no deeper than 
his law-books, and the chemist see no further 
than the windows of his laboratory, and they may 
do their work well. But the woman who does 
woman's work needs a many-sided, multiform 
culture ; the heights and depths of human life 
must not be beyond the reach of her vision ; she 
must have knowledge of men and things in many 
states, a wide catholicity of sympathy, the strength 
that springs from knowledge, and the magnanimity 
which springs from strength. We bear the world, 
and we make it. The souls of little children 
are marvelously delicate and tender things, and 
keep forever the shadow that first falls on them, 
and that is the mother's, or at best a woman's. 
There was never a great man who had not a great 
mother — it is hardly an exaggeration. The first 
six years of our life make us ; all that is added 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 237 

later is veneer ; and yet some say, if a woman 
can cook a dinner or dress herself well she has 
culture enough. 

" The mightiest and noblest of human work is 
given to us, and we do it ill. Send a navvie to 
work into an artist's studio, and see what you 
will find there ! And yet, thank God, we have 
this work," she added quickly : " it is the one 
window through which we see into the great 
world of earnest labor. The meanest girlwho 
dances and dresses becomes something higher 
when her children look up into her face and ask 
her questions. It is the only education we have 
and which they cannot take from us." 

She smiled slightly. " They say that we com- 
plain of woman's being compelled to look upon 
marriage as a profession ; but that she is free 
to ente° upon it or leave it as she pleases. 

« Yes— and a cat set afloat in a pond is free 
to sit in the tub till it dies there, it is under no 
obligation to wet its feet ; and a drowning man 
may catch at a straw or not, just as he likes — 
it is a glorious liberty ! Let any man think for 
five minutes of what old maidenhood means to 
a woman— and then let him be silent. Is it easy 
to bear through life a name that in itself signifies 
defeat ? to dwell, as nine out of ten unmarried 
women must, under the finger of another woman ? 
Is it easy to look forward to an old age without 
honor, without the reward of useful labor, without 
love ? I wonder how many men there are who 
would give up everything that is dear in life for 
the sake of maintaining a high ideal purity ? " 



gj3 TAB STORY OF 

She laughed a little laugh that was deaf with- 
out being pleasant. " And then, when they have 
no other argument against us, they say — ' Go on ; 
but when you have made women what you wish, 
and her children inherit her culture, you will de- 
feat yourself. Man will gradually become extinct 
from excess of intellect, the passions which re- 
plenish the race will die.' Fools ! " she said, 
curling her pretty lip. " A Hottentot sits at the 
road-side and feeds on a rotten bone he has found 
there, and takes out his bottle of Cape-smoke and 
swills at it, and grunts with satisfaction ; and the 
cultured child of the nineteenth century sits in 
his arm-chair, and sips choice wines with the lip 
of a connoisseur, and tastes delicate dishes with 
a delicate palate, and with a satisfaction of which 
the Hottentot knows nothing. Heavy jaw and 
sloping forehead — all have gone with increasing 
intellect ; but the animal appetites are there still 
— refined, discriminative, but immeasurably in- 
tensified. Fools ! Before men forgave or wor- 
shiped, while they still were weak on their hind 
legs, did they not eat and drink, and fight for 
wives ? When all the later additions to humanity 
have vanished, will not the foundation on which 
they are built remain ? " 

She was silent then for a while, and said, some- 
what dreamily, more as though speaking to her- 
self than to him, — 

" They ask, What will you gain, even if man 
does not become extinct ? — you will have brought 
justice and equality on to the earth, and sent love 
from it. When men and women are equals they 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 239 

will love no more. Your highly cultured women 
will not be lovable, will not love. 

" Do they see nothing, understand nothing ? 
It is Tant' Sannie who buries husbands one after 
another, and folds her hands resignedly — 'The 
Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, and 
blessed be the name of the Lord ' — and she looks 
for another. . It is the hard-headed, deep thinker 
who, when the wife who has thought and worked 
with him goes, can find no rest, and lingers near 
her till he finds sleep beside her. 

" A great soul draws and is drawn with a more 
fierce intensity than any small one. By every 
inch we grow in intellectual height, our love strikes 
down its roots deeper, and spreads out its arms 
wider. It is for love's sake yet more than for any 
other that we look for that new time." She had 
leaned her head against the stones, and watched 
with her sad, soft eyes the retreating bird. 
" Then when that time comes," she said lowly, 
" when love is no more bought or sold, when it is 
not a means of making bread, when each woman's 
life is filled with earnest, independent labor, then 
love will come to her, a strange sudden sweetness 
breaking in upon her earnest work ; not soughc 
for, but found. Then, but not now " 

Waldo waited for her to finish the sentence, 
but she seemed to have forgotten him. 

" Lyndall," he said, putting his hand upon her 
— she started — ■" if you think that that new time 
will be so great, so good, you who speak so 
easily " 

She interrupted him. 



240 THE STORY OF 

te Speak ! speak ! " she said ; " the difficulty is 
not to speak ; the difficulty is to keep silence." 

" But why do you not try to bring that time ? " 
he said with pitiful simplicity. " When you speak 
I believe all you say ; other people would listen 
to you also." 

" I am not so sure of that," she said with a 
smile. 

Then over the small face came the weary look 
it had worn last night as it watched the shadow 
in the corner. Ah, so weary ! 

" I, Waldo, I ? " she said. " I will do nothing 
good for myself, nothing for the world, till some- 
one wakes me. I am asleep, swathed, shut up 
in self ; till I have been delivered I will deliver 
no one." 

He looked at her wondering, but she was not 
looking at him. 

" To see the good and the beautiful," she said, 
" and to have no strength to live it, is only to be 
Moses on the mountain of Nebo, with the land at 
your feet and no power to enter. It would be 
better not to see it. Come," she said, looking up 
into his face, and seeing its uncomprehending 
expression, " let us go, it is getting late. Doss is 
anxious for his breakfast also," she added, wheel- 
ing round and calling to the dog, who was 
endeavoring to unearth a mole, an occupation to 
which he had been zealously addicted from the 
third month, but in which he had never on any 
single occasion proved successful. 

Waldo shouldered his bag, and Lyndall walked 
on before in silence, with the dog close to her 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 241 

side. Perhaps she thought of the narrowness of 
the limits within which a human soul may speak 
and be understood by its nearest of mental kin, 
of how soon it reaches that solitary land of the 
individual experience, in which no fellow-footfall 
is ever heard. Whatever her thoughts may have 
been, she was soon interrupted. Waldo came 
close to her, and standing still, produced with 
awkwardness from his breast-pocket a small 
carved box. 

" I made it for you," he said, holding it out. 

" I like it," she said, examining it carefully. 

The workmanship was better than that of the 
gravepost. The flowers that covered it were 
delicate, and here and there small conical pro- 
tuberances were let in among them. She turned 
it around critically. Waldo bent over it lovingly. 

" There is one strange thing about it," he said 
earnestly, putting a finger on one little pyramid. 
" I made it without these, and I felt something 
was wrong ; I tried many changes, and at last I 
let these in, and then it was right. But why was 
it? They are not beautiful in themselves." 

"They relieve the monotony of the smooth 
leaves, I suppose." 

He shook his head as over a weighty matter. 

" The sky is monotonous," he said, " when it 
is blue, and yet it is beautiful. I have thought 
of that often ; but it is not monotony and it is not 
variety makes beauty. What is it ? The sky, 
and your face, and this box — the same thing is 
in them all, only more in the sky and in your face. 
But what is it ? " 
16 



242 THE STORY OF 

She smiled. 

" So you are at your old work still. Why, why, 
why ? What is the reason ? It is enough for me," 
she said, " if I find out what is beautiful and what 
is ugly, what is real and what is not. Why it is 
there, and over the final eause of things in general 
I don't trouble myself ; there must be one, but 
what is it to me ? If I howl to all eternity I 
shall never get hold of it ; and if I did I might be 
no better off. But you Germans are born with an 
aptitude for burrowing ; you can't help yourselves. 
You must sniff after reasons, just as that dog must 
after a mole. He knows perfectly well he will 
never catch it, but he's under the imperative 
necessity of digging for it." 

" But he might find it." 

"Might!— but he never will. Life is too 
short to run after mights ; we must have certain- 
ties." 

She tucked the box under her arm and was 
about to walk on, when Gregory Rose, with shin- 
ing spurs, an ostrich feather in his hat, and a 
silver-headed whip, careered past. He bowed 
gallantly as he went by. They waited till the 
dust of the horse's hoofs had laid itself. 

" There," said Lyndall, " goes a true woman — • 
/one born for the sphere that some women have 
to fill without being born for it. How happy he 
would be sewing frills into his little girl's frocks, 
and how pretty he would look sitting -in a parlor, 
with a rough man making love to him ! Don't 
you think so ? " 
\jy '* I shall not stay here when he is master," 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 243 

Waldo answered, not able to connect any kind of 
beauty with Gregory Rose. 

" I should imagine not. The rule of a woman 
is tyranny ; but the rule of a man-woman grinds 
fine. Where are you going ? " 

" Anywhere." 

"What to do?" 

" See — see everything." 

" You will be disappointed." 

" And were you ? " 

" Yes ; and you will be more so. I want some 
things that men and the world give, you do not. 
If you have a few yards of earth to stand on, and 
a bit of blue over you, and something that you 
cannot see to dream about, you have all that you 
need, all that you know how to use. But I like 
to see real men. Let them be as disagreeable as 
they please, they are more interesting to me than 
flowers, or trees, or stars, or any other thing 
under the sun. Sometimes," she added, walking 
on, and shaking the dust daintily from her skirts, 
" when I am not too busy trying to find a new 
way of doing my hair that will show my little neck 
to better advantage, or over other work of that 
kind, sometimes it amuses me intensely to trace 
out the resemblance between one man and an- 
other : to see how Tant' Sannie and I, you and 
Bonaparte, St. Simon on his pillar, and the 
Emperor dining off larks' tongues, are one and 
the same compound, merely mixed in different 
proportions. What is microscopic in one is 
largely developed in another ; what is a rudimen- 
tary in one man is an active organ in another j 



244 THE STORY OF 

but all things are in all men, and one soul is the 
model of all. We shall find nothing new in 
human nature after we have once carefully dis- 
sected and analyzed the one being we ever shall 
truly know — ourself. The Kaffir girl threw some 
coffee on my arm in bed this morning; I felt dis- 
pleased, but said nothing, Tant' Sannie would 
have thrown the saucer at her and sworn for an 
hour ; but the feeling would be the same irritated 
displeasure. If a huge animated stomach like 
Bonaparte were put under a glass by a skillful 
mental microscopist, even he would be found to 
have an embryonic doubling somewhere indicative 
of a heart, and rudimentary buddings that might 
have become conscience and sincerity. — Let me 
take your arm, Waldo. How full you are of 
mealie dust. — No, never mind. It will brush off. 
— And sometimes what is more amusing still than 
tracing the likeness between man and man, is to 
trace the analogy there always is between the 
progress and development of one individual and 
of a whole nation ; or again, between a single 
nation and the entire human race. It is pleasant 
when it dawns on you that the one is just the 
other written ou.t in large letters ; and very odd 
to find all the little follies and virtues, and develop- 
ments and retrogressions, written out in the big 
world's book that you find in your little internal 
self. It is the most amusing thing I know of ; 
but of course, being a woman, I have not often 
time for such amusements. Professional duties 
always first, you know. It takes a great deal of 
time and thought always to look perfectly ex- 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



245 



quisite, even for a pretty woman. Is the old 
buggy still in existence, Waldo ? " 

" Yes ; but the harness is broken." 

" Well, I wish you would mend it. You must 
teach me to drive. I must learn something while 
I am here. I got the Hottentot girl to show me 
how to make * sarsarties ' this morning ; and Tant' 
Sannie is going to teach me to make ' kapjes.' 
I will come and sit with you this afternoon while 
you mend the harness." 

" Thank you." 

" No, don't thank me ; I come for my own 
pleasure. I never find any one I can talk to. 
Women bore me, and men, I talk so to — ' Going 
to the ball this evening ? — Nice little dog that of 
yours. — Pretty little ears. — So fond of pointer 
pups ! ' — And they think me fascinating, charm- 
ing! Men are like the earth and we are the 
moon ; we turn always one side to them, and they 
think there is no other, because they don't see it 
■ — but there is." 

They had reached the house now. 

" Tell me when you set to work," she said and 
walked toward the door. 

Waldo stood to look after her, and Doss stood 
at his side, a look of painful uncertainty depicted 
on his small countenance, and one little foot 
poised in the air. Should he stay with his master 
or go ? He looked at the figure with the wide 
straw hat moving toward the house, and he looked 
up at his master ; then he put down the little paw 
and went. Waldo watched them both in at the 
door and then walked away alone. He was satis- 
fied that at lea^his dog was with her. 



246 THE STORY OF 



CHAPTER V. 

TANT* SANNIE HOLDS AN UPSITTING, AND GREGORY 
WRITES A LETTER. 

It was just after sunset, and Lyndall had not 
yet returned from her first driving-lesson, when 
the lean colored woman standing at the corner of 
the house to enjoy the evening breeze, saw com- 
ing along the road a strange horseman. Very nar- 
rowly she surveyed him, as slowly he approached. 
He was attired in the deepest mourning, the 
black crape round his tall hat totally concealing 
the black felt, and nothing but a dazzling shirt- 
front relieving the funereal tone of his attire. He 
rode much forward in his saddle, with his chin 
resting on the uppermost of his shirt-studs, and 
there was an air of meek subjection to the will 
of Heaven, and to what might be in store for him, 
that bespoke itself even in the way in which he 
gently urged his steed. He was evidently in no 
hurry to reach his destination, for the nearer he 
approached to it the slacker did his bridle hang. 
The colored woman having duly inspected him, 
dashed into the dwelling. 

" Here is another one," she cried — " a widower ; 
I see it by his hat." 

"Good Lord!" said Tant' Sannie ; "it's the 
seventh I've had this month ; but the men know 
where sheep and good looks and money in the 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 247 

bank are to be found," she added, winking know- 
ingly. " How does he look ? " 

" Nineteen, weak eyes, white hair, little round 
nose," said the maid. 

" Then it's he ! then it's he ! " said Tant' Sannie 
triumphantly : " Little Piet Vander Walt, whose 
wife died last month — two farms, twelve thousand 
sheep. I've not seen him, but my sister-in-law 
told me about him, and I dreamed about him last 
night." 

Here Piet's black hat appeared in the doorway, 
and the Boer-woman drew herself up in dignified 
silence, extended the tips of her fingers, and 
motioned solemnly to a chair. The young man 
seated himself, sticking his feet as far under it as 
they would go, and said mildly : 

" I am Little Piet Vander Walt, and my father 
is Big Piet Vander Walt." 

Tant' Sannie said solemnly, " Yes." 

" Aunt," said the young man, starting up spas- 
modically, " can I off-saddle ? " 

"Yes." 

He seized his hat, and disappeared with a rush 
through the door. 

" I told you so ! I knew it ! " said Tant' San- 
nie. " The dear Lord doesn't send dreams for 
nothing. Didn't I tell you this morning that 1 
dreamed of a great beast like a sheep, with red 
eyes, and I killed it ? Wasn't the white wool his 
hair, and the red eyes his weak eyes, and my killing 
him meant marriage ? Get supper ready quickly . 
the sheep's inside and roaster-cakes. We shall 
sit up to-night," 



248 THE STORY OF 

To young Piet Vander Walt that supper was a 
period of intense torture. There was something 
overawing in that assembly of English people, 
with their incomprehensible speech ; and more- 
over, it was his first courtship : his first wife had 
courted him, and ten months of severe domestic- 
rule had not raised his spirit nor courage. He ate 
little, and when he raised a morsel to his lips 
glanced guiltily round to see if he were not ob- 
served. He had put three rings on his little 
finger, with the intention of sticking it out stiffly 
when he raised a coffee-cup ; now the little finger 
was curled miserably among its fellows. It was 
small relief when the meal was over, and Tant' 
Sannie and he repaired to the front room. Once 
seated there, he set his knees close together, stood 
his black hat upon them, and wretchedly turned 
the brim up and down. But supper had cheered 
Tant' Sannie, who found it impossible longer to 
maintain that decorous silence, and whose heart 
yearned over the youth. 

" I was related to your aunt Selina who died," 
said Tant' Sannie. " My mother's step-brother's 
child was married to her father's brother's step 
nephew's niece." 

" Yes, aunt," said the young man, " I knew 
we were related." 

" It was her cousin," said Tant' Sannie, now 
fairly on the flow, "who had the cancer cut out 
of her breast by the other doctor, who was not 
the right doctor they sent for, but who did it 
quite as well." 

" Yes, aunt," said the young man. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 249 

I've heard about it often," said Tant' Sannie. 
" And he was the son of the old doctor that they 
say died on Christmas Day; but I don't know if 
that's true. People do tell such awful lies. Why 
should he die on Christmas Day more than any 
other day ? " 

"*Yes, aunt, why?" said the young man, 
meekly. 

" Did you ever have the toothache ? " asked 
Tant' Sannie. 

" No, aunt." 

" Well, they say that doctor, — not the son of 
the old doctor that died on Christmas Day, the 
other that didn't come when he was sent for — 
he gave such good stuff for the toothache that if 
you opened the bottle in the room where any one 
was bad they got better directly. You could see 
it was good stuff," said Tant' Sannie : " it tasted 
horrid. That was a real doctor ! He used to 
give a bottle so high," said the Boer-woman, rais- 
ing her hand a foot from the table, " you could 
drink at it for a month and it wouldn't get done, 
and the same medicine was good for all sorts of 
sicknesses — croup, measles, jaundice, dropsy. 
Now you have to buy a new kind for each sick- 
ness. The doctors aren't so good as they used 
to be." 

" No, aunt," said the young man, who was try- 
ing to gain courage to stick out his legs and clink 
his spurs together. He did so at last. 

Tant' Sannie had noticed the spurs before; 
but she thought it showed a nice manly spirit, 
and her heart warmed yet more to the youth. 



2$o THE STORY OF 

"Did you ever have convulsions when you 
were a baby ? " asked Tant' Sannie! 

" Yes," said the young man. 

" Strange ! " said Tant' Sannie ; " I had con- 
vulsions too. Wonderful that we should be so 
much alike ! " 

" Aunt," said the young man, explosively, " can 
we sit up to-night ? " 

Tant' Sannie hung her head and half closed her 
eyes ; but finding that her little wiles were thrown 
away, the young man staring fixedly at his hat, 
she simpered "Yes," and went away to fetch 
candles. 

In the dining-room Em worked at her machine, 
and Gregory sat close beside her, his great blue 
eyes turned to the window where Lyndall leaned 
out talking to Waldo. 

Tant' Sannie took two candles out of the cup- 
board and held them up triumphantly, winking 
all round the room. 

" He's asked for them," she said. 

" Does he want them for his horse's rubbed 
back ? " asked Gregory, new to up-country life. 

" No," said Tant' Sannie, indignantly ; " we're 
going to sit up ! " and she walked ^off in triumph 
with the candles. 

Nevertheless, when all the rest of the house 
had retired, when the long candle was lighted, 
when the coffee-kettle was filled, when she sat in 
the elbow-chair, with her lover on a chair 
close beside her, and when the vigil of the night 
was fairly begun, she began to find it wearisome. 
The young man looked chilly, and said nothing. 



AN AFRICAN Mm HI 

« Won't you put your feet on my stove ? " said 
Tant' Sannie. , , 

" No, thank you, aunt," said the young man, 
and both lapsed into silence. m 

At last Tant' Sannie, afraid of going to sleep, 
tapped a strong cup of coffee for herself and 
handed another to her lover. This visibly re- 
vived both. „ 

" How long were you married, cousin i 

"Ten months, aunt."" 

" How old was your baby ? " 

" Three days when it died." 

" It's very hard when we must give our hus- 
bands and wives to the Lord," said Tant' Sannie. 

" Very," said the young man ; but it s tne 
Lord's will." . , . , , 

" Yes," said Tant' Sannie, and sighed. 

« She was such a good wife, aunt :> I've known 
her to break a churn-stick over a maid s head tor 
only letting dust come on a milk-cloth." 

Tant' Sannie felt a twinge of jealousy. She 
had never broken a churn-stick on a maid s head. 

" I hope your wife made a good end," she said. 
" Oh, beautiful, aunt : she said up a psalm and 
two hymns and a half before she died." 

"Did she leave any messages? asked I ant 

"No," said the young man; "but the night 
before she died I was lying at the foot of her 
bed ; I felt her foot kick me. 

" « Piet,' she said. 

" * Annie, my heart,' said I. 

"'My little baby that died yesterday has 



252 THE STORY OF 

been here, and it stood over the wagon-box/ she 
said. 

" ' What did it say ? ' I asked. 

" ' It said that if I died you must marry a fat 
woman." 

" ' I will,' I said, and I went to sleep again. 
Presently she woke me. 

" ' The little baby has been here again, and it 
says you must marry a woman over thirty, and 
who's had two husbands.' 

_ " I didn't go to sleep after that for a long 
time, aunt ; but when I did she woke me. 

" ' The baby has been here again,' she said, ' and 
it says you mustn't marry a woman with a mole.' 
I told her I wouldn't, and the next day she died." 

" That was a vision from the Redeemer," said 
Tant' Sannie. 

The young man nodded his head mournfully. 
He thought of a younger sister of his wife's who 
was not fat, and who had a mole, and of whom 
his wife had always been jealous, and he wished 
the little baby b&d liked better staying in heaven 
than coming and standing over the wagon-chest. 

" I suppose that's why you came to .me," said 
Tant' Sannie. 

_. " Yes, aunt. And pa said I ought to get mar- 
ried before shearing-time. It is bad if there's no 
one to see after things then ; and the maids waste 
such a lot of fat." 

" When do you want to get married ? " 

" Nex,t month, aunt," said the young man in a 
tone of hopeless resignation. " May I kiss you, 
aunt?" J 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



2 SZ 



" Fie ! fie ! " said Tant' Sannie, and then gave 
him a resounding kiss. " Come, draw your chair 
a little closer," she said, and, their elbows now 
touching, they sat on through the night. 

The next morning at dawn, as Em passed 
through Tant' Sannie's bedroom, she found the 
Boer-woman pulling off her boots preparatory to 
climbing into bed. 

" Where is Piet Vander Walt ? " 

" Just gone," said Tant' Sannie ; " and I am 
going to marry him this day four weeks. I am 
dead sleepy," she added ; " the stupid thing 
doesn't know how to talk love-talk at all," and she 
climbed into the four-poster, clothes and all, and 
drew the quilt up to her chin. 

On the day preceding Tant' Sannie's wedding, 
Gregory Rose sat in the blazing sun on the stone 
wall behind his daub-and-wattle house. It was 
warm, but he was intently watching a small buggy 
that was being recklessly driven over the bushes 
in the direction of the farm-house. Gregory 
never stirred till it had vanished ; then, finding 
the stones hot, he slipped down and walked into 
the house. He kicked the little pail that lay in 
the doorway, and sent it into one corner ; that did 
him good. Then he s t down on the box, and 
began cutting letters out of a piece of newspaper. 
Finding that the snippings littered the floor, he 
picked them up and began scribbling on his blot- 
ting-paper. He tried the effect of different in- 
itials before the name Rose : G. Rose, E. Rose, 
L. Rose, L. Rose, L. L. L. L. Rose. When he 



254 THE STORY OF 

had covered the sheet, he looked at it discon- 
tentedly a little while, then suddenly began to 
write a letter. 

" Beloved Sister, 

" It is a long while since I last wrote to you, but 
I have had no time. This is the first morning I 
have been at home since I don't know when. 
Em always expects me to go down to the farm- 
house in the morning ; but I didn't feel as though 
I could stand the ride to-day. 

" I have much news for you. 

" 'Tant' Sannie, Em's Boer step-mother, is to be 
married to-morrow. She is gone to town to-day, 
and the wedding feast is to be at her brother's 
farm. Em and I are going to ride over on horse- 
back, but her cousin is going to ride in the buggy 
with that German. I don't think I've written to 
you since she came back from school. I don't 
think you would like her at all, Jemima ; there's 
something so proud about her. She thinks just 
because she's handsome there's nobody good 
enough to talk to her, and just as if there had no* 
body else but her been to boarding-school before. 

" They are going to have a grand affair to- 
morrow : all the Boers about are coming, and 
they are going to dance all night; but I don't 
think I shall dance at all ; for, as Em's cousin 
says, these Boer dances are low things. I am 
sure I only danced at the last to please Em. I 
don't know why she is fond of daicing. Em 
talked of our being married on the same day as 
Tant' Sannie ; but I said it would be nicer fox 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 255 

her if she waited till the shearing was over, and 
I took her down to see you. I suppose she will 
have to live with us (Em's cousin, I mean), as 
she has not anything in the world but a poor fifty 
pounds. I don't like her at all, Jemima, and I 
don't think you would. She's got such queer 
ways : she's always driving about in a gig with 
that low German ; and I don't think it's at all 
the thing for a woman to be going about with a 
man she's not engaged to. Do you ? If it was 
me now, of course, who am a kind of connection, 
it would be different. The way she treats me, 
considering that I am so soon to be her cousin, 
is not at all nice. I took down my album the other 
day with your likenesses in^it, and I told her she 
could look at it, and put it down close to her ; 
but she just said, Thank you, and never even 
touched it, as much as to say — What are your 
relations to me ? 

" She gets the wildest horses in that buggy, 
and a horrid snappish little cur belonging to the 
German sitting in front, and then she drives out 
alone. I don't think it's at all proper for a 
woman to drive out alone ; I wouldn't allow it if she 
was my sister. The other morning, I don't know 
how it happened, I was going in the way from 
which she was coming, and that little beast — they 
call him Doss — began to bark when he saw me 
— he always dtfes, the little wretch — and the 
horses began to spring, and kicked the splash- 
board all to pieces. It was a sight to see. 
Jemima ! She has got the littlest hands I ever 
saw— I could hold them both in one of mine, and 



2^6 THE STORY OF 

not know that I'd got anything except that they 
were so soft ; but she held those horses in as 
though they were made of iron. When I wanted 
to help her she said> ' No, thank you ; I can man- 
age them myself. I've got a pair of bits that 
would break their jaws if I used them well,' and 
she laughed and drove away. It's so unwomanly. 
" Tell father my hire of the ground will not 
be out for six months, and before that Em and I 
will be married. My pair of birds is breeding 
now, but I haven't been down to see them for 
three days. I don't seem to care about anything 
any more. I don't know what it is : I'm not 
well. If I go into town on Saturday I will let 
the doctor examine me ; but perhaps she'll go in 
herself. It's a very strange thing, Jemima, but 
she never will send her letters to post by me. If 
I ask her she has none, and the very next day 
che goes in and posts them herself. You mustn'f 
say anything about it, Jemima, but twice I've 
brought her letters from the post in a gentleman's 
hand, and I'm sure they were both from the same 
person, because I noticed every little mark, even 
the dotting of the ts. Of course it's nothing to 
vie: but for Em's sake I can't help feeling an 
interest in her, however much I may dislike her 
myself ; and I hope she's up to nothing. I pity 
the man who marries her ; I wouldn't be him for 
anything. If I had a wife with pride I'd make 
her give it up, sharp. I don't believe in a man 
who can't make a woman obey him. Now Em — ■ 
I'm very fond of her, as you know — but if I tell 
her to put on a certain dress, that dress she puts 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 257 

on ; and if I tell her to sit on a certain seat, on 
that seat she sits ; and if I tell her not to speak 
to a certain individual, she does not speak to 
them. If a man lets a woman do what he doesn't 
like he's a muff. 

"Give my love to mother and the children. 
The * veld ' here is looking pretty good, and the 
sheep are better since we washed them. Tell 
father the dip he recommended is very good. 

" Em sewds her love to you. She is making 
me some woolen shirts ; but they don't fit me so 
nicely as those mother made me. 

" Write soon to 

" Your loving brother, 

" Gregory. 

" P. S. — She drove past just now ; I was sitting 
on the kraal wall right before her eyes, and she 
never even bowed. 

"G. N. R." 

CHAPTER VI. 

A BOER-WEDDING. 

"I didn't know before you were so fond of 
riding hard," said Gregory to his little betrothed. 

They were cantering slowly on the road to Oom 
Muller's on the morning of the wedding. 

" Do you call this riding hard ? " asked Em in 
some astonishment. 

" Of course I do ! It's enough to break the 
horses' necks, and knock one up for U12 whole 
*7 



258 THE STORY OF 

day besides," he added testily ; then twisted his 
head to look at the buggy that came on behind. 
" I thought Waldo was such a mad driver ; they 
are taking it easily enough to-day,' ' said Gregory. 
" One would think the black stallions were lame." 

" I suppose they want to keep out of our dust," 
said Ein. " See, they stand still as soon as we 
do." 

Perceiving this to be the case, Gregory rode on. 

" It's all that horse of yours : she kicks up 
such a confounded dust, I can't stand it myself," 
he said. 

Meanwhile the cart came on slowly enough. 

" Take the reins," said Lyndall, " and make 
them walk. I want to rest and watch their hoofs 
to-day — not to be exhilarated ; I am so tired." 

She leaned back in her corner, and Waldo drove 
on slowly in the gray dawn light along the level 
road. They passed the very milk-bush behind 
which so many years before the old German had 
found the Kaffir woman. But their thoughts were 
not with him that morning : they were the thoughts 
of the young, that run out to meet the future, and 
labor in the present. At last he touched her arm. 

" What is it ? " 

" I feared you had gone to sleep, and might be 
jolted out," he said ; " you sat so quietly." 

" No ; do not talk to me , I am not asleep ; " 
but after a time she said suddenly, " It must be a 
terrible thing to bring a human being into the 
world." 

Waldo looked round ; she sat drawn into the 
corner, her blue cloud wound tightly about her, 
and she still watched the horses' feet. Having 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 259 

no comment to offer on her somewhat unexpected 
remark, he merely touched up his horses. 

" I have no conscience, none," she added ; " but 
I would not like to bring a soul into this world. 
When it sinned and when it suffered something 
like a dead hand would fall on me, — ' You did 
it, you, for your own pleasure you created this 
thing ! See your work ! ' If it lived to be eighty 
it would always hang like a mill-stone round my 
neck, have the right to demand good from me, 
and curse me for its sorrow. A parent is only 
like to God : if His work turns out bad so much 
the worse for Him ; He dare not wash His hands 
of it. Time and years can never bring the day 
when you can say to your child, * Soul, what have 
I to do with you ? ' " 

Waldo said dreamily : 

" It is a marvelous thing that one soul should 
have power to cause another." 

She heard the words as she heard the beating 
of the horses' hoofs ; her thoughts ran on in their 
own line. 

" They say, ' God sends the little babies/ Of 
all the dastardly revolting lies men tell to suit 
themselves, I hate that most. I suppose my 
father said so when he knew he was dying of con- 
sumption, and my mother when she knew she had 
nothing to support me on, and they created me 
to feed like a dog from stranger hands. Men do 
not say God sends the books, or the newspaper 
\rticles, or the machines they make ; and then 
sigh, and shrug their shoulders, and say they can't 
*elp it. Why do they say so about other things f 



260 THE STORY OF 

Liars ! ' God sends the little babies ! ' " She 
struck her foot fretfully against the splash-board. 
" The • small children say so earnestly. They 
touch the little stranger reverently who had just 
come from God's far country, and they peep about 
the room to see if not one white feather has dropped 
from the wing of the angel that brought him. On 
their lips the phrase means much ; on all others it 
is & deliberate lie. Noticeable too," she said, drop- 
ping in an instant from the passionate into a low, 
mocking tone, " when people are married, though 
they should have sixty children, they throw the 
whole onus on God. When they are not, we hear 
nothing about God's having sent them. When 
there has been no legal contract between the 
parents, who sends the little children then ? The 
Devil perhaps ! " she laughed her little silvery, 
mocking laugh. " Odd that some men should come 
from hell and some from heaven, and yet all look 
so much alike when they get here." 

Waldo wondered at her. He had not the key 
to her thoughts, and did not see the- string on 
which they were strung. She drew her cloud 
tightly about her. 

" It must be very nice to believe in the Devil," 
she said ; " I wish I did. If it would be of any 
use I would pray three hours night and morning 
on my bare knees, ' God, let me believe in Satan.' 
He is so useful to those people who do. They 
may be as selfish and as sensual as they please, 
and, between God's will and the Devil's actions, 
always have some one to throw their sin on. But 
we, wretched unbelievers, we bear our own bur- 



AN AFRICAN FARM, 26 1 

dens ; we must say, ' I myself did it, I. Not God, 
nor Satan ; I myself ! ' That is the sting that 
strikes deep. Waldo," she said gently, with a 
sudden and complete change of manner, " I like 
you so much, I love you." She rested her cheek 
softly against his shoulder. " When I am with 
you I never know that I am a woman and you are 
a man ; I only know that we are both things that 
think. Other men when I am with them, whether 
I love them or not, they are mere bodies to me : 
but you are a spirit ; I like you. Look," she 
said quickly, sinking back into her corner, " what 
a pretty pinkness there is on all the hill-tops ! 
The sun will rise in a moment." 

Waldo lifted his eyes to look round over the 
circle of golden hills ; and the horses, as the first 
sunbeams touched them, shook their heads and 
champed their bright bits, till the brass settings 
in their harness glittered again. 

It was eight o'clock when they nearedthe farm- 
house : a red-brick building, with kraals to the 
right and a small orchard to the left. Already 
there were signs of unusual life and bustle : one » 
cart, a wagon, and a couple of saddles against 
the wall betokened the arrival of a few early 
guests, whose numbers would soon be largely 
increased. To a Dutch country wedding guests 
start up in numbers astonishing to one who has 
merely ridden through the plains of sparsely- 
inhabited karroo. 

As the morning advances, riders on many 
shades of steeds appear from all directions, and 
add their saddles to the long rows against the 



262 THE STORY OF 

walls, shake hands, drink coffee, and stand about 
outside in groups to watch the arriving carts and 
ox-wagons, as they are unburdened of their heavy 
freight of massive Tantes and comely daughters, 
followed by swarms of children of all sizes, 
dressed in all manner of print and moleskin, who 
are taken care of by Hottentot, Kaffir, and half- 
caste nurses, whose many-shaded complexions, 
ranging from light yellow up to ebony black, add 
variety to the animated scene. Everywhere is 
excitement and bustle, which gradually increases 
as the time for the return of the wedding party 
approaches. Preparations for the feast are 
actively advancing in the kitchen ; coffee is lib- 
erally handed rOund, and amid a profound sensa- 
tion, and the firing of guns, the horse-wagon draws 
up, and the wedding party alight. Bride and 
bridegroom, with their attendants, march solemnly 
to the marriage-chamber, where bed and box are 
decked out in white, with ends of ribbon and arti- 
ficial flowers, and where on a row of chairs the 
party solemnly seat themselves. After a time 
# bridemaid and best man rise, and conduct in 
with ceremony each individual guest, to wish 
success and to kiss bride and bridegroom. Then 
the feast is set on the table, and it is almost 
sunset before the dishes are cleared away, and 
the pleasure of the day begins. Everything is 
removed from the great front room, and the mud 
floor, well rubbed with bullock's blood, glistens 
like polished mahogany. The female portion of 
the assembly flock into the side-rooms to attire 
themselves for the evening ; and re-issue clad ir/ 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 263 

white muslin, and gay with bright ribbons and 
brass jewelry. The dancing begins as the first 
tallow candles are stuck up about the walls, the 
music coming from a couple of fiddlers in a cor- 
ner of the room. Bride and bridegroom open the 
ball, and the floor is soon covered with whirling 
couples, and every one's spirits rise. The bridal 
pair mingle freely in the throng, and here and 
there a musical man sings vigorously as he drags 
his partner through the Blue Water or John Sper- 
iwig; boys shout and applaud, and the enjoyment 
and confusion are intense, till eleven o'clock 
comes. By this time the children who swarm in 
the side-rooms" are not to be kept quiet longer, 
even by hunches of bread and cake ; there is a 
general howl and wail, that rises yet higher than 
the scraping of fiddles, and mothers rush from 
their partners to knock small heads together, and 
cuff little nursemaids, and force the wailers down 
into unoccupied corners of beds, under tables, 
and behind boxes. In half an hour every variety 
of childish snore is heard on all sides, and it has 
become perilous to raise or set down a foot in 
any of the side-rooms lest a small head or hand 
should be crushed. Now, too, the busy feet have 
broken the solid coating of the floor, and a cloud 
of fine dust arises, that makes a yellow halo 
round the candles, and sets asthmatic people 
coughing, and grows denser, till to recognize any 
one on the opposite side of the room becomes 
impossible, and a partner's face is seen through a 
yellow mist. 

At twelve o'clock the bride is led to the 



264 THE STORY OF 

marriage-chamber and undressed ; the lights are 
blown out, and the bridegroom is brought to the 
door by the best man, who gives him the key; 
then the door is shut and locked, and the revels 
rise higher than ever. There is no thought of 
sleep till morning, and no unoccupied spot 
where sleep may be found. 

It was at this stage of the proceedings on the 
night of Tant' Sannie's wedding that Lyndall sat 
near the doorway in one of the side-rooms, to 
watch the dancers as they appeared and disap- 
peared in the yellow cloud of dust. Gregory sat 
moodily in a corner of the large dancing-room. 
His little betrothed touched his arm. 

" I wish you would go and ask Lyndall to 
dance with you," she said ; " she must be so 
tired ; she has sat still the whole evening." 

" I have asked her three times," replied her 
lover shortly. "I'm not going to be Zier'dog, 
and creep to her feet, just to give her the pleas- 
ure of kicking me — not for you, Em, nor for any- 
body else." 

" Oh, I didn't know you had asked her, Greg," 
said his little betrothed humbly ; and she went 
away to pour out coffee. 

Nevertheless, some time after Gregory found 
he had shifted so far round the room as to be 
close to the door where Lyndall sat. After stand- 
ing for some time he inquired whether he might 
not bring her a cup of coffee. She declined : but 
still he stood on (why should he not stand there 
as well as anywhere else ?) and then he stepped 
into the bedroom, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 265 

" May I not bring you a stove, Miss Lyndall, 
to put your feet on ? " 

" Thank you." 

He sought for one, and put it under her feet. 

" There is a draught from that broken window : 
shall I stuff something in the. pane ? " 

" No ; we want air." 

Gregory looked round, but, nothing else sug- 
gesting itself, he sat down on a box on the op- 
posite side of the door. Lyndall sat before him, 
her chin resting in her hand ; her eyes, steel-gray 
by day but black by night, looked through the 
doorway into the next room. After a time he 
thought she had entirely forgotten his proximity, 
and he dared to inspect the little hands and neck 
as he never dared when he was in momentary 
dread of the eyes being turned upon him. She 
was dressed in black, which seemed to take her 
yet further from the white-clad, gewgawed women 
about her : and the little hands were white, and 
the diamond ring glittered. Where had she got 
that ring ? He bent forward a little and tried to 
decipher the letters, but the candle-light was too 
faint. When he looked up her eyes were fixed 
on him. She was looking at him— not, Gregory 
felt, as she had ever looked at him before ; not 
as though he were a stump or a stone that chance 
had thrown in her way. To-night, whether it 
were critically, or kindly, or .unkindly, he could 
not tell, but she looked at him, at the man, Greg- 
ory Rose, with attention. A vague elation filled 
him. He clenched his fist tight to think of some 
good idea he might express to her ; but of all 



266 THE STORY OF 

those profound things he had pictured himself as 
saying to her, when he sat alone in the daub-and- 
wattle house, not one came. He said at last : 

" These Boer dances are very low things ; " 
and then, as soon as it had gone from him, he 
thought it was not a clever remark, and wished 
it back. 

Before Lyndall replied Em looked in at the 
door* 

"Oh, come," she said; "they are going to 
have the cushion-dance. I do not want to kiss 
any of these fellows. Take me quickly." 

She slipped her hand into Gregory's arm. 

" It is so dusty, Em ; do you care to dance any 
more ? " he asked, without rising. 

" Oh, I do not mind the dust, and the dancing 
rests me." 

But he did not move. 

" I feel tired ; I do not think I shall dance 
again," he said. 

Em withdrew her hand, and a young farmer 
came to the door and bore her off. 

" I have often imagined," remarked Gregory— 
Lyndall had risen. 

" I am tired," she said. " I wonder where 
Waldo is ; he must take me home. These people 
will not leave off till morning, I suppose; it is 
three already." 

She made her way past the fiddlers, and a 
bench full of tired dancers, and passed out at the 
front door. On the " stoop " a group of men 
and boys were smoking, peeping in at the 
windows^ and cracking coarse jokes. Waldo 



AN AFRICAN FARM, 267 

was certainly not among them, and she made her 
way to the carts and wagons drawn up at some 
distance from the homestead. 

" Waldo," she said, peering into a large cart, 
" is that you ? I am so dazed with the tallow 
candles, I see nothing." 

He had made himself a place between the two 
seats. She climbed up and sat on the sloping 
floor in front. 

" I thought I should find you here," she said, 
drawing her skirt up about her shoulders. " You 
must take me home presently, but not now." 

She leaned her head on the seat near to his, 
and they listened in silence to the fitful twang- 
ing of the fiddles as the night-wnd bore it from 
the farm-house, and to the ceaseless thud of the 
dancers, and the peals of gross laughter. She 
stretched out her little hand to feel for his. 

" It is so nice to lie here and hear that noise,'' 
she said. " I like to feel that strange life beating 
up against me. I like to realize forms of life 
utterly unlike mine." She drew a long breath. 
" When my own life feels small, and I am op- 
pressed with it, I like to crush together, and see 
it in a picture, in an instant, a multitude of dis- 
connected unlike phases of human life — a medi- 
aeval monk with his string of beads pacing the 
quiet orchard, and looking up from the grass at 
his feet to the heavy fruit-trees ; little Malay boys 
playing naked on a shining sea-beach ; a Hindoo 
philosopher alone under his banyan-tree, thinking, 
thinking, thinking, so that in the thought of God 
he raay lose himself j a troop of Bacchanalians 



268 THE STORY OF 

dressed in white, with crowns of vine-leaves, 
dancing along the Roman streets ; a martyr on 
the night of his death looking through the narrow 
window to the sky, and feeling that already he 
has the wings that shall be*r him up " (she moved 
her hand dreamily over her face) ; " an epicurean 
discoursing at a Roman bath to a knot of his dis- 
ciples on the nature of happiness ; a Kaffir witch- 
doctor seeking for herbs by moonlight, while 
from the huts on the hill-side come the sound of 
dogs barking, and the voices of women and chil- 
dren ; a mother giving bread and milk to her chil- 
dren in little wooden basins and singing the even- 
ing song. I like to see it all ; I feel it run through 
me — that life belongs to me ; it makes my little 
life larger, it breaks down the narrow walls that 
shut me in." 

She sighed, and drew a long breath. 

" Have you made any plan ? " she asked him 
presently. 

" Yes," he said, the words coming in jets, with 
pauses between ; " I will take the gray mare — I 
will travel first — I will see the world — -then I will 
find work." 

" What work ? " 

" I do not know." 

She made a little impatient movement, 

" That is no plan ; travel — see the world — find 
work ! If you go into the world aimless, without 
a definite object, dreaming — dreaming, you will 
be definitely defeated, bamboozled, knocked this 
way and that. In the end you will stand with 
your beautiful life all spent, and nothing to *A9h\ 



AN A FRICA N FA RM. 269 

They talk of genius — it is nothing but this, that a 
man knows what he can do best, and does it, and 
nothing else. Waldo," she said, knitting her little 
fingers closer among his, " I wish I could help 
you ; I wish I could make you see that you must 
decide what you will be and do. It does not 
matter what you choose— be a farmer, business- 
man, artist, what you will— but know your aim, 
and live for that one thing. We have only one 
life. The secret of success is concentration ; 
wherever there has been a great life, or a great 
work, that has gone before. Taste everything a 
little, look at everything a ljttle ; but live for one 
thing. Anything is possible to a man who knows 
his end and moves straight for it, and for it alone p 
I will show you what I mean," she said concisely ; 
" words are gas till you condense them into pict- 
ures. 

" Suppose a woman, young, friendless as I am, 
the weakest thing on God's earth. But she must 
make her way through life. What she would be 
she cannot be because she is a woman ; so she 
looks carefully at herself and the world about her* 
to see where her path must be made. There i» 
no one to help her ; she must help herself. She 
looks. These things she has — a sweet voice, rich 
in subtle intonations; a fair, very fair face, with 
a power of concentrating in itself, and giving 
expression to feelings that otherwise must have 
been dissipated in words; a rare power of enter- 
ing intQjother lives unlike her own, and intuitively 
reading them aright. These qualities she has. 
How shall she use them ? A poet, a writer, needs 



270 THE STORY OF 

only the mental ; what use has he for a beautiful 
body that registers clearly mental emotions ? And 
the painter wants an eye for form and color, and 
the musician an ear for time and tune, and the 
mere drudge has no need for mental gifts. But 
there is one art in which all she has would be 
used, for which they are all necessary — the deli- 
cate expressive body, the rich voice, the power of 
mental transposition. The actor, who absorbs 
and then reflects from himself other human lives, 
needs them all, but needs not much more. This 
is her end , but how to reach it ? Before her are 
endless difficulties : seas must be crossed, poverty 
must be endured, loneliness, want. She must be 
content to wait long before she can even get her 
feet upon the path. If she has made blunders in 
the past, if she has weighted herself with a burden 
which she must bear to the end, she must but 
bear the burden bravely, and labor on. There is 
no use in wailing and repentance here : the next 
world is the place for that ; this life is too short. 
By our errors we see deeper into life. They help 
us." She waited for a while. " If she does all 
this — if she waits patiently, if she is never cast 
down, never despairs, never forgets her end, 
moves straight toward it, bending men and things 
most unlikely to her purpose — she must succeed 
at last. Men and things are plastic ; they part to 
the right and left when one comes among them 
moving in a straight line to one end. I know it 
by my own little experience," she said. " Long 
years ago I resolved to be sent to school. It 
seemed a thing utterly out of my power ; but I 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 2 7 1 

waited, I watched, I collected clothes, I wrote, 
took my place at the school ; when all was ready 
I bore with my full force on the Boer-woman, and 
Bhe sent me at last. It was a small thing ; but 
life is made up of small things, as a body is built 
up of cells. What has been done in small things 
can be done in large. Shall be," she said softly. 

Waldo listened. To him the words were no 
confession, no glimpse into the strong, proud, 
restless heart of the woman. They were general 
words with a general application. He looked up 
into the sparkling sky with dull eyes. 

" Yes," he said ; " but when we lie and think, 
and think, we see that there is nothing worth 
doing. The universe is so large, and man is so 
small " 

She shook her head quickly. 

' fc But we must not think so far ; it is madness, 
it is a disease. We know that no man's work is 
great, and stands for ever. Moses is dead, and 
the prophets, and the books that our grand- 
mothers fed on the mold is eating. Your poet 
and painter and actor — before the shouts that 
applaud them have died their names grow strange, 
they are mile-stones that the world has passed. 
Men have set their mark on mankind forever, as 
they thought ; but time has washed it out as it 
has washed out mountains and continents." She 
raised herself on her elbow. " And what, if we 
could help mankind, and leave the traces of our 
work upon it to the end ? Mankind is only an 
ephemeral blossom on the tree of time ; there were 
others before it opened ; there will be others after 



272 THE STORY OF 

it has fallen. Where was man in the time of the 
dicynodont, and when hoary monsters wallowed 
in the mud ? Will he be found in the aeons that 
are to come ? We are sparks, we are shadows, 
we are pollen, which the next wind will carry 
away. We are dying already ; it is all a dream. 

" I know that thought. When the fever of 
living is on us, when the' desire to become, to 
know, to do, is driving us mad, we can use it as 
an anodyne, to still the fever and cool our beat- 
ing pulses. But it is a poison, not a food. If 
we live on it, it will turn our blood to ice ; we 
might as well be dead. We must not, Waldo ; I 
want your life to be beautiful, to end in some- 
thing. You are nobler and stronger than I," she 
said ; " and as much better as one of God's great 
angels is better than a sinning man. Your life 
must go for something." 

" Yes, we will work," he said. 

She moved closer to him and lay still, his black 
curls touching her smooth little head. 

Doss, who had lain at his master's side, climbed 
over the bench, and curled himself up in her lap. 
She drew her skirt up over him, and the three sat 
motionless for a long time. 

" Waldo," she said, suddenly, "they are laugh- 
ing at us." , 

" Who ? " he asked, starting up. 

" They— the stars ! " she said softly. " Do 
you not see? there is a Kttle, white, mocking 
finger pointing down at us from each one of them ! 
We are talking of to-morrow, and to-morrow, and 
our hearts are so strong ; we are not thinking of 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 273 

something that can touch us softly in the dark, and 
make us still forever. They are laughing at us, 
Waldo." 

Both sat looking upward. 

" Do you ever pray ? " he asked her in a low 
voice. 

" No." - 

" I never do ; but I might when I look up 
there. I will tell you," he added, in a still lower i 
voice, " where I could pray. If there were a wall 
of rock on the ' edge of a world, and one rock \ 
stretched out far, far into space, and I stood \ 
alone upon it, alone, with stars above me, and j 
stars below me — I would not say anything ; buy 
the feeling would be prayer." 

There was an end to their conversation after 
that, and Doss fell asleep on her knee. At last 
the night-wind grew very chilly. 

" Ah," she said, shivering, and drawing the 
skirt about her shoulders, " I am cold. Span-in 
the horses, and call me when you are ready." 

She slipped down and walked toward the house, 
Doss stiffly following her, not pleased at being 
roused. At the door she met Gregory. 

*-■ I have been looking for you everywere ; may 
I not drive you home ? " he said. 

"Waldo drives me," she replied, passing on; 
and it appeared to Gregory that she looked at him 
in the old way, without seeing him. But before 
she had reached the door an idea had occurred 
to her, for she turned. 

" If you wish to drive me you may." 

Gregory went to look for Em, whom he found 
18 



274 THE STOR Y OF 

pouring out coffee in the back room. He put his 
hand quickly on her shoulder. 

" You must ride with Waldo ; I am going to 
drive your cousin home." 

" But I can't come just now, Greg ; I promised 
Tant' Sannie Muller to look after the things while 
she went to rest a little." 

"Well, you can come presently, can't you ? I 
didn't say you were to come now. I'm sick of 
this thing," said Gregory, turning sharply on his 
heel. " Why must I sit up the whole night be- 
cause your step-mother chooses to get married ? " 

" Oh, it's all right, Greg, I only meant " 

But he did not hear her, and a man had come 
up to have his cup filled. 

An hour after Waldo came in to look for her, 
and found her still busy at the table. 

" The horses are ready," he said ; " but if you 
would like to have one dance more I will wait." 

She shook her head wearily. 

" No ; I am quite ready. I want to go." 

And soon they were on the sandy road the buggy 
had traveled an hour before. Their horses, with 
heads close together, nodding sleepily as they 
walked in the starlight, you might have counted 
the rise and fall of their feet in the sand ; and 
Waldo in his saddle nodded drowsily also. Only 
Em was awake, and watched the starlit road with 
wide-open eyes. At last she spoke. 

" I wonder if all people feel so old, so very old, 
when they get to be seventeen ? " 

" Not older than before," said Waldo, sleepily, 
pulling at his bridle. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 275 

Presently she said again, — 

" I wish I could have been a child always. 
Vou are good then. You are- never selfish ; you 
like every one to have everything ; but when you 
are grown up there are some things you like to 
have all to yourself, you don't like any one else 
to have any of them." 

" Yes," said Waldo, sleepily, and she did not 
speak again. 

When they reached the farm-house all was dark, 
for Lyndall retired as soon as they got home. 

Waldo lifted Em from her saddle, and for a 
moment she leaned her head on his shoulder 
and clung to him. 

" You are very tired," he said, as he walked 
with her to the door*; " let me go in and light a 
candle for you." 

" No, thank you ; it is all right," she said. 
" Good-night, Waldo dear." 

But when she went in she sat long alone in the 
dark. 

CHAPTER VII. 

WALDO GOES OUT TO TASTE LIFE, AND EM STAYS 
AT HOME AND TASTES IT. 

At nine o'clock in the evening, packing his 
bundles for the next morning's start, Waldo looked 
up, and was surprised to see Em's yellow head 
peeping in at his door. It was many a month 
since she had been there. She said she had made 
him sandwiches for his journey, and she stayed a 



276 THE STORY OF 

while to help him put his goods into the saddle- 
hags. 

" You can leave the old things lying about," 
she said ; " I will lock the room, and keep it 
waiting for you to come back some day." 

To come back some day! Would the bird 
ever return to its cage ? But he thanked her. 
When she went away he stood on the door-step 
holding the candle till she had almost reached the 
house. But Em was that evening in no hurry to 
enter, and, instead of going in at the back door, 
walked with lagging footsteps round the low brick 
wall that ran before the house. Opposite the 
open window of the parlor she stopped. The 
little room, kept carefully closed in Tant' Sannie's 
time, was well lighted by a paraffin lamp ; books 
and work lay strewn about it, and it wore a bright, 
habitable aspect. Beside the lamp at the table 
in the corner sat Lyndali, the open letters and 
papers of the day's post lying scattered before 
her, while she perused the columns of a news- 
paper. At the center table, with his arms folded 
on an open paper, which there was not light 
enough to read, sat Gregory. He was looking at 
her. The light from the open window fell on 
Em's little face under its white " kappje " as she 
looked in, but no one glanced that way. 

" Go and fetch me a glass of water," Lyndali 
said at last. 

Gregory went out to find it ; when he put it 
down at her side she merely moved her head in 
recognition, and he went back to his seat and his 
old occupation. Then Em moved slowly away 






AN AFRICAN FARM. 



77 



from the window, and through it came in spotted, 
hard-winged insects, to play round the lamp, till, 
one by one, they stuck to its glass, and fell to the 
foot dead. 

Ten o'clock struck. Then Lyndall rose, gath- 
ered up her papers and letters, and wished Greg- 
ory good-night. Some time after Em entered ; 
she had been sitting all the while on the loft-ladder, 
and had drawn her " kappje " down very much 
over her face. 

Gregory was piecing together the bits of an 
envelope when she came in. 

"I thought you were never coming," he said, 
turning round quickly, and throwing the fragments* 
on to the floor. " You know I have been shear- 
ing all day, and it is ten o'clock already." 

"I'm sorry. I did not think you would be 
going so soon," she said in a low voice. 

"I can't hear what you say. What makes you 
mumble so ? Well, good-night, Em." 

He stooped down hastily to kiss her. 

" I want to talk to you, Gregory." 

" Well, make haste," he said, pettishly. " I'm 
awfully tired. I've been sitting here all the even- 
ing. Why couldn't you come and talk before ? " 

" I will not keep you long," she answered, very 
steadily now. " I think, Gregory, it would be 
better if you and I were never to be married.'"' 

" Good heavens ! Em, what do you mean t I 
thought you were so fond of me ? You always 
professed to be. What on earth have you taken 
into your head now ? " 

" I think it would be better/' she said, folding 



278 THE STORY OF 

her hands over each other, very much as though 
she were praying. 

" Better, Em ! What do you mean ? Even a 
woman can't take a freak all about nothing! 
You must have some reason for it, and I'm sure 
I've done nothing to offend you. I wrote only 
to-day to my sister to tell her to come up next 
month to our wedding, and I've been as affection- 
ate and happy as possible. Come — what's the 
matter?" 

He put his arm half round her shoulder, very 
loosely. 

" I think it would be better," she answered, 
slowly. 

" Oh, well," he said, drawing himself up, " if 
you won't enter into explanations you won't ; and 
I'm not the man to beg and pray — not to any 
woman, and you know that ! If you don't want 
to marry me I can't oblige you to, of course." 

She stood quite still before him. 

" You women never do know your own minds 
lor two days together ; and of course you know 
the state of your own feelings best ; but it's very- 
strange. Have you really made up your mind, 
Em ? " 

"Yes." 

"Well, I'm very sorry. I'm sure I've not been 
in anything to blame. A man can't always be 
billing and cooing ; but, as you say, if your feel- 
ing for me has changed, it's much better you 
shouldn't marry me. There's nothing so foolish 
as to marry some one you don't love ; and I only 
Vrish for your happiness, I'm sure, I dare say 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 279 

you'll find some one can make you much happier 
than / could ; the first person we love is seldom 
the right one. You are very young ; it's quite 
natural you should change." 

She said nothing. 

" Things often seem hard at the time, but Prov- 
idence makes them turn out for the best in the 
end," said Gregory. "You'll let me kiss you, 
Em, just for old friendship's sake." He stooped 
down. " You must look upon me as a dear 
brother, as a cousin at least ; as long as I am on 
the farm I shall always be glad to help you, 
Em." 

Soon after the brown pony was cantering along 
the footpath to the daub-and-wattle house, and 
his master as he rode whistled John Speriwig and 
the Thorn Cloof Schottische. 

The sun had not yet touched the outstretched 
arms of the prickly pear upon the " kopje," and 
the early cocks and hens still strutted about stiffly 
after the night's roost, when Waldo stood before 
the wagon-house saddling the gray mare. Every 
now and then he glanced up at the old familiar 
objects : they had a new aspect that morning. 
Even the cocks, seen in the light of parting, had 
a peculiar interest, and he listened with conscious 
attention while one crowed clear and loud as it 
stood on the pigsty wall. He wished good-morn- 
ing softly to the Kaffir woman who was coming 
up from the huts to light the fire. He was leav- 
ing them all to that old life, and from his height 
he looked down on them pityingly. So they 
would keep on crowing, and coming to light 



280 THE STORY OF 

fires, when for him that old colorless existence 
was but a dream. 

He went into the house to say good-bye to Em, 
and then he walked to the door of LyndalPs room 
to wake her ; but she was up, and standing in 
the doorway. 

" So you are ready," she said. 

Waldo looked at her with sudden heaviness; 
the exhilaration died out of his heart. Her gray 
dressing-gown hung close about her, and below 
its edge the little bare feet were resting on the 
threshold. 

" I wonder when we shall meet again, Waldo ? 
What you will be and what I ? " 

" Will you write to me ? " he asked of her. 

" Yes ; and if I should not, you can still re- 
member, wherever you are, that you are not alone." 

" I have left Doss for you," he said. 

" Will you not miss him ? " 

" No ; I want you to have him. He loves you 
better than he loves me." 

" Thank you." They stood quiet. 

" Good-bye ! " she said, putting her little hand 
in his, and he turned away • but when he reached 
the door she called to him : " Come back, I want 
to kiss you." She drew his face down to hers, 
and held it with both hands, and kissed it on the 
forehead and mouth. " Good-bye, dear ! " 

When he looked back the little figure with its 
beautiful eyes was standing in the doorway still. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 281 

CHAPTER VIII. 

the " kopje." 

' " Good-morning ! " 

Em, who was in the store-room measuring the 
Kaffirs' rations, looked up and saw her former 
lover standing between her and the sunshine. 
For some days after that evening on which he 
had ridden home whistling he had shunned her. 
She might wish to enter into explanations, and 
he, Gregory Rose, was not the man for that kind 
of thing. If a woman had once thrown him over- 
board she must take the consequences, and stand 
by them. When, however, she showed no inclina- 
tion to revert to the past, and shunned him more 
than he shunned her, Gregory softened. 

" You must let me call you Em still, and be 
like a brother to you till I go," he said ; and Em 
thanked him so humbly that he wished she hadn't. 
It wasn't so easy after that to think himself an 
injured man. 

On that morning he stood some time in the 
doorway switching his whip, and moving rather 
restlessly from one leg to the other. 

" I think I'll just take a walk up to the camps 
and see how your birds are getting on. Now 
Waldo's gone you've no one to see after things. 
Nice morning, isn't it ? " Then he added sud- 
denly, " I'll just go round to the house and get a 
drink of water first ; " and somewhat awkwardly 



282 THE STORY OF 

walked off. He might have found water in the 
kitchen, but he never glanced toward the buckets. 
In the front room a monkey and two tumblers 
stood on the center table ; but he merely looked 
round, peeped into the parlor, looked round again, 
and then walked out at the front door, and found 
himself again at the store-room without having 
satisfied his thirst. " Awfully nice morning this," 
he said, trying to pose himself in a graceful and 
indifferent attitude against the door. " It isn't 
hot and it isn't cold. It's awfully nice." 

" Yes," said Em. 

" Your cousin, now," said Gregory in an aim- 
less sort of way — " I suppose she's shut up in her 
room writing letters." 

" No," said Em. 

" Gone for a drive, I expect ? Nice morning 
for a drive." 

" No." 

" Gone to see the ostriches, I suppose ? " 

" No." After a little silence Em added, " I 
saw her go by the kraals to the * kopje.' " 

Gregory crossed and uncrossed his legs. 

" Well, I think I'll just go and have a look 
about," he said, " and see how things are get- 
ting on before I go to the camps. Good-bye ; so 
long." 

Em left for a while the bags she was folding 
and went to the window, the same through which, 
years before, Bonaparte had watched the slouch- 
ing figure cross the yard. Gregory walked to the 
pigsty first, and contemplated the pigs for a few 
seconds ; then turned round, and stood looking 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 283 

fixedly at the wall of the fuel-house as though he 
thought it wanted repairing ; then he started off 
suddenly with the evident intention of going to 
the ostrich-camps; then paused, hesitated, and 
finally walked off in the direction of the " kopje." 

Then Em went back to the corner, and folded 
more sacks. 

On the other side of the "kopje" Gregory 
caught sight of a white tail waving among the 
stones, and a succession of short, frantic barks 
told where Doss was engaged in howling im- 
ploringly to a lizard who had crept between 
two stones, and who had not the slightest in- 
tention of re-sunning himself at that particular 
moment. 

The dog's mistress sat higher up, under the 
shelving rock, her face bent over a volume of 
plays upon her knee. . As Gregory mounted the 
stones she started violently and looked up ; then 
resumed her book. 

" I hope I am not troubling you," said Gregory, 
as he reached her side. " If I am I will go 'away. 
I just " 

" No ; you may stay." 

" I fear I startled you." 

" Yes ; your step was firmer than it generally 
is. I thought it was that of somebody else." 

" Who could it be but me ? " asked Gregory, 
seating himself on a stone at her feet. 

" Do you suppose you are the only man who 
would find anything to attract him to this 
'kopje'?" 

" Oh, no," said Gregory. 



n 



2% 4. THE STORY OF 

He was not going to argue that point with her, 
nor any other ; but no old Boer was likely to take 
the trouble of climbing the " kopje," and who else 
was there ? 

She continued the study of her book. 

" Miss Lyndall," he said at last, "I don't know 
why it is you never talk to me." 

" We had a long conversation yesterday," she 
said without looking up. 

" Yes ; but you ask me questions about sheep 
and oxen. I don't call that .talking. You used 
to talk to Waldo, now," he said, in an aggrieved 
tone of voice. " I've heard you when I came in, 
and then you've just left off. You treated me 
like that from the first day ; and you couldn't tell 
from just looking at me that I couldn't talk about 
the things you like. I'm sure I know as much 
about such things as Waldo does," said Gregory,, 
in exceeding bitterness of spirit. 

" I do not know which things you refer to. If 
you will enlighten me I am quite prepared to 
speak of them," she said, reading as she spoke. 

" Oh, you never used to ask Waldo like that," 
said Gregory, in a more sorely aggrieved tone 
than ever. " You used just to begin." 

Well, let me see," she said, closing her book 
and folding her hands on it. " There at the foot 
of the 'kopje ' goes a Kaffir ; he has nothing on 
but a blanket ; he is a splendid fellow — six feet 
high, with a magnificent pair of legs. In his 
leather bag he is going to fetch his rations, and 
I suppose to kick his wife with his beautiful legs 
when he gets home. He has a right to ; he 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 285 

bought her for two oxen. There is a lean clog 
going after him, to whom I suppose he never 
gives more than a bone from which he has sucked 
the marrow ; but his dog loves him as his wife 
does, There is something of the master about 
him in spite of his blackness and wool. See 
how he brandishes his stick and holds up his 
head ! " 

" Oh, but aren't you making fun ? " said Greg- 
ory, looking doubtfully from her to the Kaffir 
herd, who rounded the " kopje." 

" No ; I am very serious. He is the most in- 
teresting and intelligent thing I can see just now, 
except, perhaps, Doss. He is profoundly sug- 
gestive. Will his race melt away in the heat of a 
collision with a higher ? Are the men of the 
future to see his bones only in museums — a 
vestige of one link that spanned between the dog 
and the white man ? He wakes thoughts that 
run far out into the future and back into the 
past." 

Gregory was not quite sure how to take these 
remarks. Being about a Kaffir, they appeared to 
be of the nature of a joke; but, being seriously 
spoken, they appeared earnest : so he half laughed 
and half not, to be on the safe side. 

" I've often thought so myself. It's funny we 
should both think the same ; I knew we should if 
once we talked. But there are other things — 
love, now," he added. " I wonder if we would 
think alike about that. I wrote an essay on love 
once ; the master said it was the best I ever 
Wrote, and I can remember the first sentence still 



286 THE STORY OF 

■ — ' Love is something that you feel in your 
heart.' " 

" That was a trenchant remark. Can you re- 
member any more ? " 

" No," said Gregory, regretfully ; " I've for- 
gotten the rest. But tell me what do you think 
about love ? " 

A look, half of abstraction, half amusement, 
played on her lips. 

" I don't know much about love," she said, 
" and I do not like to talk of things I do not 
understand ; but I have heard two opinions. 
Some say the Devil carried the seed from hell, 
and planted it on the earth to plague men and 
make them sin ■ and some say, that when all the 
plants in the garden of Eden were pulled up by 
the roots, one bush that the angels had planted 
was left growing, and it spread its seed over the 
whole earth, and its name is love. I do not 
know which is right — perhaps both. There are 
different species that go under the same name. 
There is a love that begins in the head, and goes 
down to the heart, and grows slowly ; but it lasts 
till death, and asks less than it gives. There is 
another love, that blots out wisdom, that is sweet 
with the sweetness of life and bitter with the bitter- 
ness of death, lasting for an hour ; but it is worth 
having lived a whole life for that hour. I cannot 
tell, perhaps the old monks were right when they 
tried to root love out ; perhaps the poets are 
right when they try to water it. It is a blood- 
red flower, with the color of sin ; but there is 
always the scent of a god about it." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 287 

Gregory would have made a remark ; but she 
said, without noticing, — 

" There are as many kinds of loves as there are 
flowers ; everlastings that never wither ; speed- 
wells that wait for the wind to fan them out of 
life ; blood-red mountain-lilies that pour their 
voluptuous sweetness out for one day, and lie in 
the dust at night. There is no flower has the 
charm of all— the speedwell's purity, the ever- 
lasting's strength, the mountain-lily's warmth; 
but who knows whether there is no love that 
holds all— friendship, passion, worship ? 

" Such a love," she said, in her sweetest voice, 
« will fall on the surface of strong, cold, selfish life 
as the sunlight falls on a torpid winter world ; 
there, where the trees are bare, and the ground 
frozen, till it rings to the step like iron, and the 
water is solid and the air is sharp as a two-edged 
knife, that cuts the unwary. But when its sun 
shines on it, through its whole dead crust a throb- 
bing yearning wakes : the trees feel him, and 
every knot and bud swell, aching to open to him. 
The brown seeds, who have slept deep under 
the ground, feel him, and he gives them strength, 
till they break through the frozen earth, and lift 
two tiny, trembling green hands in love to him. 
And he touches the water, till down to its depths 
it feels him and melts, and it flows, and the 
things, strange sweet things that were locked up 
in it, it sings as it runs, for love of him. Each 
plant tries to bear at least one fragrant little 
flower for him ; and the world that was dead lives, 
and the heart that was dead and self-centered 



288 THE STORY OF 

throbs, with an upward, outward yearning, and it 
has become that which it seemed impossible ever 
to become. There, does that satisfy you ? " she 
asked, looking down at Gregory. " Is that how 
you like me to talk ? " 

" Oh, yes," said Gregory, " that is what I have 
already thought. We have the same thoughts 
about everything* How strange ! '' 

" Very," said Lyndall, working with her little 
toe at a stone in the ground before her. 

Gregory felt he must sustain the conversation. 

The only thing he could think of was to recite 
a piece of poetry. He knew he had learnt many 
about love ; but the only thing that would come 
into his mind now was the ' Battle of Holwilinden? 
and ' Not a drum ii>as lieard? neither of which 
seemed to bear directly on the subject on hand. 

But unexpected relief came to him from Doss, 
who, too deeply lost in contemplation of his crev- 
ice, was surprised by the sudden descent of the 
stone Lyndall's foot had loosened, which, rolling 
against his little front paw, carried away a piece 
of white skin. Doss stood on three legs, hold- 
ing up the paw with an expression of extreme 
self-commiseration ; he then proceeded to hop 
slowly upward in search of sympathy. 

"You have hurt that dog," said Gregory. 

" Have I r " she replied indifferently, and re- 
opened the book, as though to resume her study 
of the play. 

" He's a nasty, snappish little cur ! " said 
Gregory, calculating from her manner that the 
remark would be indorsed. " He snapped at my 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



2S9 



horse's tail yesterday, and nearly made it throw 
me. I wonder his master didn't take him, instead 
of leaving him here to be a nuisance to all of us ! " 

Lyndall seemed absorbed in her play ; but he 
ventured another remark. 

" Do you think now, Miss Lyndall, that he'H 
ever have anything in the world — that German, 
I mean — money enough to support a wife on, and 
all that sort of thing? I don't. He's what / 
call a soft." 

She was spreading her skirt out softly with her 
left hand for the dog to lie down on it. 

" I think I should be rather astonished if he 
ever became a respectable member of society," 
she said. " I don't expect to see him the pos- 
sessor of bank-shares, the chairman of a divisional 
council, and the father of a large family ; wear- 
ing a black hat, and going to church twice on 
Sunday. He would rather astonish me if he came 
to such an end." 

" Yes ; I don't expect anything of him either," 
said Gregory, zealously. 

"Well, I don't know," said Lyndall; "there 
are some small things I rather look to him for. 
If he were to invent wings, or carve a statue that 
one might look at for half an hour without want- 
ing to look at something else, I should not be 
surprised. He may do some little thing of that 
kind, perhaps, when he has done fermenting and 
the sediment has all gone to the bottom." 

Gregory felt that what she said was not wholly 
intended as blame. 

" Well, I don't know," he said sulkily ; " to 
l 9 



'.go 



THE STORY OF 



me he looks like a fool. To walk about always 
in that dead-and-alive sort of way, muttering to 
himself like an old Kaffir witch-doctor ! He 
works hard enough, but it's always as though he 
didn't know what he was doing. You don't know 
how he looks to a person who sees him for the 
first time." 

Lyndall was softly touching the little sore foot 
as she read, and Doss, to show he liked it, licked 
her hand. 

" But, Miss Lyndall," persisted Gregory, " what 
do you really think of him ? " 

"I think," said Lyndall, "that he is like a 
thorn-tree, which grows up very quietly, without 
any one's caring for it, and one day suddenly 
breaks out into yellow blossoms." 

" And what do you think I am like ? " asked 
Gregory hopefully. 

Lyndall looked up from her book. 

" Like a little tin duck floating on a dish of 
water, that comes after a piece of bread stuck 
on a needle, and the more the needle pricks it 
the more it comes on." 

" Oh, you are making fun of me now, you really 
are ! " said Gregory, feeling wretched. " You 
are making fun, aren't you, now ? " 

" Partly. It is always diverting to make com- 
parisons." 

"Yes; but you don't compare me to anything 
nice, and you do other people. What is Em like, 
now ? " 

" The accompaniment of a song. She fills up 
the gaps in other people's lives, and is always 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 291 

number two ; but I think she is like many accom- 
paniments — a great deal better than the song she 
is to accompany." 

" She is not half so good as you are ? " said 
Gregory, with a, burst of uncontrollable ardor. 

" She is so much better than I, that her little 
finger has more goodness in it than my whole 
body. I hope you may not live to find out the 
truth of that fact." 

" You are like an angel," he said, the blood 
rushing to his head and face. 

" Yes, probably : angels are of many orders." 

" You are the one being that I love ! " said 
Gregory, quivering ; " I thought I loved before, 
but I know now ! Do not be angry with me. I 
know you could never like me ; but, if I might 
but always be near you to serve you, I would be 
utterly, utterly happy. I would ask nothing in 
return ! If you could only take everything I have 
and use it ; I want nothing but to be of use to you." 

She looked at him for a few moments. 

" How do you know," she said slowly, " that 
you could not do something to serve me ? You 
could serve me by giving me your name." 

He started, and turned his burning face to her. 

" You are very cruel ; you are ridiculing me," 
he said. 

" No, I am not, Gregory. What I am saying is 
plain, matter-of-fact business. If you are willing 
to give me your name within three weeks' time, 
I am willing to marry you ; if not, well. I want 
nothing more than your name. That is a clear 
proposal, is it not ? " 



?Q2 THE STORY OF 

He looked up. Was it contempt, loathing, 
pity, that moved in the eyes above? He could 
not tell ; but he stooped over the little foot and 
kissed it. 

She smiled. 

" Do you really mean it ? " he whispered. 

" Yes. You wish to serve me, and to have 
nothing in return ! — you shall have what you 
wish." She held out her fingers for Doss to lick. 
— " Do you see this dog ? He licks my hand be- 
cause I love him ; and I allow him to. Where I 
do not love I do not allow it. I believe you love 
me ; I too could love so, that to lie under the foot 
of the thing I loved would be more heaven than 
to lie in the breast of another. — Come ! let us go. 
Carry the dog," she added ; "he will not bite you 
if I put him in your arms. So — do not let his 
foot hang down." 

They descended the " kopje." At the bottom 
he whispered, " Would you not take my arm, the 
path is very rough ? " 

She rested her fingers lightly on it. 

" I may yet change my mind about marrying 
you before the time comes. It is very likely. 
Mark you ! " she said, turning round on him ; " I 
remember your words: You will give everything, 
and expect nothing. The knowledge that you, are 
serving me is to be your reward ; and you will 
have that. You will serve me, and greatly. The 
reasons I have for marrying you I need not inform 
you of now ; you will probably discover some of. 
them before long." 

" I only want to be of some use to you," he said, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 293 

It seemed to Gregory that there were pulses in 
the soles of his feet, and the ground shimmered 
as on a summer's day. They walked round the 
foot of the " kopje," and past the Kaffir huts. 
An old Kaffir maid knelt at the door of one 
grinding mealies. That she should see him 
walking so made his heart beat so fast that the 
hand on his arm felt its pulsation. It seemed 
that she must envy him. 

Just then Em looked out again at the back 
window and saw them coming. She cried bit- 
terly all the while she sorted the skins. 

But that night when Lyndall had blown her 
candle out, and half turned round to sleep, the 
door of Em's bedroom opened. 

" I want to say good-night to you, Lyndall," 
she said, coming to the bedside and kneeling down. 

" I thought you were asleep," Lyndall replied. 

" Yes, I have been asleep ; but I had such a 
vivid dream," she said, holding the other's hands, 
" and that awoke me. I never had so vivid a 
dream before. 

" It seemed I was a little girl again, and I 
came somewhere into a large room. On a bed 
in the corner there was something lying dressed 
in white, and its little eyes were shut, and its little 
face was like wax. I thought it was a doll, and 
I ran forward to take it ; but some one held up 
her finger and said, * Hush ! it is a little dead 
baby/ And 1 said, 'Oh, I must go and call 
Lyndall, that she may look at it also.' 

" And they put their faces close down to my 
ear and whispered, ' It is LyndalPs baby.' 



2 9 4 THE STORY OF 

"And I said, * She cannot be grown up yet; 
she is only a little girl ! Where is she ? ■ And f 
went to look for you, but I could not find you. 

" And when I came to some people who were 
dressed in black, I asked them where you were 
and they looked down at their black clothes, and 
shook their heads, and said nothing ; and I could 
not find you anywhere. And then I awoke. 

"Lyndall," she said, putting her face down 
upon the hands she held, " it made me think 
about that time when we were little girls and 
used to play together, when I loved you better 
than anything else in the world. It isn't any 
one's fault that they love you; they can't help it. 
And it isn't your fault ; you don't make them love 
you. I know it." 

" Thank you, dear," Lyndall said. " It is nice 
to be loved, but it would be better to be good." 

Then they wished good-night, and Em _ went 
back to her room. Long after Lyndall lay in the 
dark thinking, thinking, thinking; and as she 
turned round wearily to sleep she muttered, — 

" There are some wiser in their sleeping than 
in their waking." 

B CHAPTER IX. 

lyndall's stranger. 

A fire is burning in the unused hearth of tht 
cabin. The fuel blazes up, and lights the black 
rafters, and warms the faded red lions on the 
auilt, and fills *&£ little room with a glow of 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 295 

warmth and light made brighter by contrast, for 
outside the night is chill and misty. 

Before the open fireplace sits a stranger, his 
tall slight figure reposing in a broken arm-chair, 
his keen blue eyes studying the fire from beneath 
delicately penciled, drooping eyelids. One white 
hand plays thoughtfully with a heavy flaxen mus- 
tache ; yet once he starts, and for an instant the 
languid lids raise themselves: there is a keen, 
intent look upon the face as he listens for some- 
thing. Then he leans back in his chair, fills his 
glass from the silver flask in his bag, and resumes 
his old posture. 

Presently the door opens noiselessly. It is 
Lyndall, followed by Doss. Quietly as she enters 
he hears her, and turns. 

" I thought you were not coming." 

" I waited till all had gone to bed. I could not 
come before." 

She removed the shawl that enveloped her, and 
the stranger rose to offer her his chair ; but she took 
her seat on a low pile of sacks before the window. 

" I hardly see why I should be outlawed after 
this fashion," he said, reseating himself and draw- 
ing his chair a little nearer to her ; " these are 
hardly the quarters one expects to find after trav- 
eling a hundred miles in answer to an invitation." 

" I said, ' Come if you wish.' " 

" And I did wish. You give me a cold recep- 
tion." 

" I could not take you to the house. Questions 
would be asked which I could not answer with- 
out prevarication." 



296 



THE STORY OF 



" Your conscience is growing to have a certain 
virgin tenderness," he said, in a low melodious 
voice, 

" I have no conscience. I spoke one deliber- 
ate lie this evening. I said the man who had 
come looked rough, we had best not have him in 
the house; therefore I brought him here. It 
was a deliberate lie, and I hate lies. I tell them 
if I must, but they hurt me." 

" Well, you do not tell lies to yourself, at all 
events. You are candid, so far." 

She interrupted him. 

" You got my short letter ? " 

" Yes ; that is why I came. You sent a very 
foolish reply, you must take it back. Who is this 
fellow you talk of marrying ? " 

" A young farmer." 

" Lives here ? " 

" Yes ; he has gone to town to get things for 
our wedding." 

" W T hat kind of a fellow is he ? " 

" A fool." 

" And you would rather marry him than me ? " 

" Yes ; because you are not one." 

" That is a novel reason for refusing to marry 
a man," he said, leaning his elbow on the table, 
and watching her keenly. 

" It is a wise one," she said shortly. " If I 
marry him I shall shake him off my hand when it 
suits me. If I remained with him for twelve 
months he would never have dared to kiss my 
hand. As far as I wish he should come, he comes, 
and no further. Would you ask me what you 
might and what you might not do ? " 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 297 

Her companion raised the mustache with a 
caressing movement from his lip and smiled. It 
was not a question that stood in need of any 
answer. 

" Why do you wish to enter on this semblance 
of marriage ? " 

" Because there is only one point on which I 
have a conscience. I have told you so." 

" Then why not marry me ? " 

" Because if once you have me you would hold 
me fast. I shall never be free again." She drew 
a long low breath. 

" What have you done with the ring I gave 
you? " he said. 

" Sometimes I wear it ; then I take it off and 
wish to throw it into the fire ; the next day I put 
it on again, and sometimes I kiss it." 

" So you do love me a little ? " 

" If you were not something more to me than 

any other man in the world, do you think " 

she paused. " I love you when I see you ; but 
when you are away from me I hate you." 

" Then I fear I must be singularly invisible at 
the present moment," he said. "Possibly if you 
were to look less fixedly into the fire you might 
perceive me." 

He moved his chair slightly so as to come be- 
tween her and the firelight. She raised her eyes 
to his face. 

" If you do love me," he asked her, " why will 
you not marry me ? " 

" Because, if I had been married to you for a 
year, I should have come to my senses- and seen 



298 THE STORY OF 

that your hands and your voice are like the hands 
and the voice of any other man. I cannot quite 
see that now. But it is all madness. You call 
into activity one part of my nature ; there is a 
higher part that you know nothing of, that you 
never touch. If I married you, afterward it would 
arise and assert itself, and I should hate you 
always, as I do now sometimes." 

" I like you when you grow metaphysical and 
analytical," he said, leaning his face upon his 
hand. " Go a little further in your analysis ; say, 
' I love you with the right ventricle of my heart, 
but not the left, and with the left auricle of my 
heart, but not the right ; and, this being the case, 
my affection for you is not of a duly elevated, intel- 
lectual, and spiritual nature.' I like you when 
you get philosophical." 

She looked quietly at him ; he was trying to 
turn her own weapons against her. 

"You are acting foolishly, Lyndall," he said, 
suddenly changing his manner, and speaking 
earnestly, " most foolishly. You are acting like 
a little child ; I am surprised at you. It is all 
very well to have ideals and theories ; but you 
know as well as any one can that they must not 
be carried into the practical world. I love you. 
I do not pretend that it is in any high, super- 
human sense ; I do not say that I should like you 
as well if you were ugly and deformed, or that I 
should continue to prize you whatever your treat- 
ment of me might be, or to love you though you 
were a spirit without any body at all. That is 
sentimentality for beardless boys. Every one 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 299 

not a mere child (and you are not a child, except 
:n years) knows what love between a man and a 
woman means. I love you with that love. I 
should not have believed it possible that I could 
have brought myself twice to ask of any woman 
to be my wife, more especially one without wealth, 
without position, and who " 

*' Yes — go on. Do not grow sorry for me. 
Say what you were going to — * who has put her- 
self into my power, and who has lost the right of 
meeting me on equal terms.' Say what you 
think. At least we two may speak the truth to 
one another." 

Then she added after a pause, — 

" I believe you do love me, as much as you 
possibly could love anything ; and I believe that 
when you ask me to marry you you are perform- 
ing the most generous act you ever have per- 
formed in the course of your life, or ever will ; 
but, at the same time, if I had required your 
generosity, it would not have been shown me. If, 
when I got your letter a month ago, hinting at 
your willingness to marry me, I had at once 
written, imploring you to come, you would have 
read the letter. * Poor little devil ! ' you would 
have said, and tore it up. The next week you 
would have sailed for Europe, and have sent me 
a check for a hundred and fifty pounds (which I 
would have thrown in the fire), and I would have 
heard no more of you." The stranger smiled. 
" But because I declined your proposal, and wrote 
that in three weeks I should be married to an- 
other, then what you call love woke up. Your 



300 THE STORY OF 

man's love is a child's love for butterflies. Vou 
follow till you have the thing, and break it. If 
you have broken one wing, and the thing flies 
still, then you love it more than ever, and follow 
till you break both ; then you are satisfied when 
it lies still on the ground." 

'• You are profoundly wise in the ways of the 
world ; you have seen far into life," he said. 

He might as well have sneered at the firelight. 

u I have seen enough to tell me that you love 
me because you cannot bear to be resisted, and 
want to master me. You liked me at first be- 
cause I treated you and all men with indifference. 
You resolved to have me because I seemed unat- 
tainable. That is all your love means." 

He felt a strong inclination to stoop down and 
kiss the little lips that defied him ; but he 
restrained himself. He said quietly, " And you 
loved me ? " 

'*' Because you are strong. You are the first 
man I ever was afraid of. And n — a dreamy look 
came into her face — " because I like to experience, 
I like to by. You don't understand that." 

He smiled. 

" Well, since you will not marry me, may I 
inquire what your intentions are, the plan you 
wrote of. You asked me to come and hear it, 
and I have come." 

" I said, ' Come if you wish.' If you agree to 
it, well ; if not, I marry on Monday." 

■ Well ? " 

She was still looking beyond him at the fire. 

; ' I cannot marry you," 'she said slowly, "be- 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 301 

cause I cannot be tied ; but, if you wish, you 
may take me away with you, and take care of 
me • then when we do not love any more we can 
say good-bye. I will not go down country,'* she 
added ; " I will not go to Europe. You must 
take me to the Transvaal. That is out of the 
World. People we meet there we need not see 
again in our future lives." 

"Oh, -my darling," he said, bending tenderly, 
and holding his hand out to her, "why will you 
not give yourself entirely to me ? One day you 
will desert me and go to another." _ . 

She shook her head without looking at him. 
" No, life is too long. But I will go with you/ 
" When ? " 

" To-morrow. I have told them that before 
daylight I go to the next farm. I will write from 
the town and tell them the facts. I do not want 
them to trouble me ; I want to shake myself free 
of these old surroundings ; I want them to lose 
sight of me. You can understand that is neces- 
sary for me." 

He seemed lost in consideration ; then he said, 
" It is better to have you on those conditions 
than not at all. If you will have it, let it be so." 
He sat looking at her. On her face was the 
weary look that rested there so often now when 
she sat alone. Two months had not passed since 
they parted ; but the time had set its mark on 
her. He looked at her carefully, from the brown, 
smooth head to the little crossed feet on the floor. 
A worn look had grown over the little face, and 
it made its charm for him stronger. For pain 



302 THE STORY OF 

and time, which trace deep lines and write a story 
on a human face, have a strangely different effect 
on one face and another. The face that is only 
fair, even very fair, they mar and flaw ; but to 
the face whose beauty is the harmony between 
that which speaks from within and the form 
through which it speaks, power is added by alt 
that causes the outer man to bear more deeply 
the impress of the inner. The pretty woman 
fades with the roses on her cheeks, and the girl- 
hood that lasts an hour; the beautiful woman 
finds her fullness of bloom only when a past has 
written itself on her, and her power is then most 
irresistible when it seems going. 

From under their half-closed lids the keen eyes 
looked down at her. Her shoulders were bent ; 
fcr a moment the Mttle figure had forgotten its 
queenly bearing, and drooped wearily ; the wide 
dark eyes watched the fire very softly. 

It certainly was not in her power to resist him, 
nor any strength in her that made his own at that 
moment grow soft as he looked at her. 

He touched one little hand that rested on her 
knee. 

" Poor little thing ! " he said ; " you are only a 
child." 

She did not draw her hand away from his, and 
looked up at him. 

" You are very tired ? " 

" Yes." 

She looked into his eyes as a little child might 
Whom a long day's play had saddened. 

He lifted her gently up, and sat her on his knee. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 303 

" Poor little thing S " he said. 

She turned her face to his shoulder, and buried 
it against his neck ; he wound his strong arm 
about her, and held her close to him. When she 
had sat for a long while, he drew with his hand 
her face down, and held it against his arm. He 
kissed it, and then put it back in its old resting- 
place. ■ 

" Don't you want to talk to me ? 

"No." 

" Have you forgotten the night in the avenue i 

He could feel that she shook her head. 

" Do you want to be quiet now ? " 

"Yes." 

They sat quite still, excepting that only some- 
times he raised her fingers softly to his mouth. 

Doss, who had been asleep in the corner, wak- 
ing suddenly, planted himself before them, his 
wiry legs moving nervously, his yellow eyes filled 
with anxiety. He was not at all sure that she 
was not being retained in her present position 
against her will, and was not a little relieved 
when she sat up and held out her hand for the 
shawl. 

"I must go," she said. 

The stranger wrapped the shawl very carefully 

about her. . 

" Keep it close around your face, i^yndall ; it 
is very damp outside. Shall I walk with you to 
the house ? " " 

"No. Lie down and rest; I will come and 
wake you at three o'clock." 

She lifted her face that he might kiss it, and, 



3°4 



THE STORY OF 



when he had kissed it once, she still held it that 
he might kiss it again. Then he let her out. He 
had seated himself at the fireplace, when she re-- 
opened the door. 

" Have you forgotten anything ? " 

" No." 

She gave one long, lingering look at the old 
room. When she was gone, and the door shut, 
the stranger filled his glass, and sat at the table 
sipping it thoughtfully. 

The night outside was misty and damp ; the 
faint moonlight, trying to force its way through 
the thick air, made darkly visible the outlines of 
the buildings. The stones and walls were moist, 
and now and then a drop, slowly collecting, fell 
from the eaves to the ground. Doss, not liking 
the change from the cabin's warmth, ran quicklj 
to the kitchen door-step ; but his mistress walked 
slowly past him, and took her way up the winding 
footpath that ran beside the stone wall of the 
camps. When she came to the end of the last 
camp, she threaded her way among the stones and 
bushes till she reached the German's grave. Why 
she had come there she hardly knew ; she stood 
looking down. Suddenly she bent and put one 
hand on the face of a wet stone. 

" I shall never come to you again," she said. 

Then she knelt on the ground, and leaned her 
face upon the stones. 

" Dear old man, good old man, I am so tired ! " 
she said (for we will come to the dead to tell 
secrets we would never have told to the living). 
il I am so tired. There is light, there is warmth," 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



305 



she wailed; "why am I alone so hard, so cold? 
I am so weary of myself ! It is eating my soul 
to its core, — self, self, self ! I cannot bear this 
life ! I cannot breathe, I cannot live ! Will 
nothing free me from myself ? " She pressed her 
cheek against the wooden post. " I want to love ! 
I want something great and pure to lift me to it- 
self ! Dear old man, I cannot bear it any more ! 
I am so cold, so hard, so hard ; will no one help 
me?" 

The water gathered slowly on her shawl, and 
fell on to the wet stones ; but she lay there cry- 
ing bitterly. For so the living soul will cry to 
the dead, and the creature to its God ; and of all 
this crying there comes nothing. The lifting up 
of the hands brings no salvation ; redemption is 
from within, and neither from God nor man : it 
is wrought out by the soul itself, with suffering 
and through time. 

Doss, on the kitchen door-step, shivered, and 
wondered where his mistress stayed so long ; and 
once, sitting sadly there in the damp, he had 
dropped asleep, and dreamed that old Otto gave 
him a piece of bread, and patted him on the head, 
and when he woke his teeth chattered, and he 
moved to another stone to see if it was drier. At 
last he heard his mistress's step, and they went 
into the house together. She lit a candle, and 
walked to the Boer-woman's bedroom. On a nail 
under the lady in pink hung the key of the ward- 
robe. She took it down and opened the great 
press. From a little drawer she took fifty pounds 
(all she had in the world), relocked the door, and 



306 THE STORY OF 

turned to hang up the key. Then she paused, 
hesitated. The marks of tears were still on her 
face, but she smiled. 

" Fifty pounds for a lover ! A noble-reward ! " 
she said, and opened the wardrobe and returned 
the notes to the drawer, where Em might find 
them. 

Once in her own room, she arranged the few 
articles she intended to take to-morrow, burnt her 
old letters, and then went back to the front room 
to look at the time. There were two hours yet 
before she must call him. She sat down at the 
dressing-table to wait, and leaned her elbows on 
it, and buried her face in her hands. The glass 
reflected the little brown head with its even part- 
ing, and the tiny hands on which it rested. " One 
day I will love something utterly, and then I will 
be better," she said once. Presently she looked 
up. The large dark eyes from the glass looked 
back at her. She looked deep into them. 

" We are all alone, you and I," she whispered ; 
" no one helps us, no one understands us ; but 
we will help ourselves." The eyes looked back 
at her. There was a world of assurance in their 
still depths. So they had looked at her ever 
since she could remember, when it was but a small 
child's face above a blue pinafore. " We shall 
never be quite alone, you and I," she said ; " we 
shall always be together, as we were when we were 
little." 

The beautiful eyes looked into the depths of 
Jaer soul. . 

" We are not afraid ; we will help ourselves ! " 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 307 

she said. She stretched out her hand and 
pressed it over them on the glass. " Dear eyes ! 
we will never be quite alone till they part us ; — till 
then ! " 

CHAPTER X. 

GREGORY ROSE HAS AN IDEA. 

Gregory Rose was in the loft putting it neat. 
Outside the rain poured ; a six months' drought 
had broken, and the thirsty plain was drenched 
with water. What it could not swallow ran off 
in mad rivulets to the great " sloot," that now 
foamed like an angry river across the flat. ■ Even 
the little furrow between the farm-house and the 
kraals was now a stream, knee-deep, which almost 
bore away the Kaffir women who crossed it. It 
had rained for twenty-four hours, and still the 
rain poured on. The fowls had collected — a 
melancholy crowd — in and about the wagon-house, 
and the solitary gander, who alone had survived 
the six months' want of water, walked hither and 
thither, printing his webbed foot-marks on the 
mud, to have them washed out the next instant 
by the pelting rain, which at eleven o'clock still 
beat on the walls and roofs with unabated ardor. 

Gregory, as he worked in the loft, took no 
notice of it beyond stuffing a sack into the broken 
pane to keep it out; and, in spite of the pelt and 
patter,. Em's clear voice might be heard through 
the open trap-door from the dining-room, where- 
she sat at work, singing the " Blue Water n — 



308 THE STORY OF 

" And take me away, 
And take me away, 
And take me away, 
To the Blue Water" 

that quaint, childish song of the people, that has 
a world of sweetness, and sad, vague yearning 
tvhen sung over and over dreamily by a woman's 
voice as she sits alone at her work. But Gregory 
heard neither that nor yet the loud laughter of the 
Kaffir maids, that every now and again broke 
through from the kitchen, where they joked and 
worked. Of late Gregory had grown strangely 
impervious to the sounds and sights about him. 
His lease had run out, but Em had said, " Do not 
renew it ; I need one to help me ; just stay on." 
And she had added, "You must not remain in 
your own little house ; live with me ; you can look 
after my ostriches better so." 

And Gregory did not thank her. What differ- 
ence did it make to him, paying rent or not, living 
there or not ; it was all one. But yet he came. 
Em wished that he would still sometimes talk of 
the strength and master-right of man ; but Greg- 
ory was as one smitten on the cheek-bone. She 
might do what she pleased, he would find no fault, 
had no word to say. He had forgotten that it is 
man's right to rule. On that rainy morning he 
had lighted his pipe at the kitchen fire, and when 
breakfast was over stood in the front door watch- 
ing the water rush down the road till the pipe 
died out in his mouth. Em saw she must do 
something for him, and found him a large calico 
duster. He had sometimes talked of putting 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 309 

tbe loft neat, and to-day she could find nothing 
else for him to do. So she had the ladder put to 
the trap-door that he need not go out in the wet, 
and Gregory with the broom and duster mounted 
to the loft. Once at work he worked hard. He 
dusted down the very rafters, and cleaned the 
broken candle-molds and bent forks that had 
stuck in the thatch for twenty years. He placed 
the black bottles neatly in rows on an old box in 
the corner, and piled the skins on one another, 
and sorted the rubbish in all the boxes ; and at 
eleven o'clock his work was almost done. He 
seated himself on the packing-case which had 
once held Waldo's books, and proceeded to ex- 
amine the contents of another which he had not 
yet looked at. It was carelessly nailed down. 
He loosened one plank, and began to lift out vari- 
ous articles of female attire — old-fashioned caps, 
aprons, dresses with long-pointed bodies such as 
he remembered to have seen his mother wear 
when he was a little child. He shook them out 
carefully to see there were no moths, and then sat 
down to fold them up again one by one. They 
had belonged to Em's mother, and the box, as 
packed at her death, had stood untouched and 
forgotten these long years. She must have been 
a tall woman, that mother of Em's, for when he 
stood up to shake out a dress the neck was on a 
level with his, and the skirt touched the ground. 
Gregory laid a night-cap out on his knee, and 
began rolling up the strings ; but presently his 
fingers moved slower and slower, then his chin 
rested on his breast, and finally the imploring 



310 THE STORY OF 

blue eyes were fixed on the frill abstractly. When 
Em's voice called to him from the foot of the lad- 
der he started, and threw the night-cap behind 
him. 

She was only come to tell him that his cup of 
soup was ready ; and, when he could hear that she 
was gone, he picked up the night-cap again, and 
a great brown sun-kappje — just such a " kappje " 
and such a dress as one of those he remembered 
to have seen a sister-of-mercy wear. Gregory's 
mind was very full of thought. He took down a 
fragment of an old looking-glass from behind a 
beam, and put the " kappje " on. His beard looked 
somewhat grotesque under it ; he put up his hand 
to hide it — that was better. The blue eyes looked 
out with the mild gentleness that became eyes 
looking out from under a " kappje." Next he took 
the brown dress, and looking round furtively, 
slipped it over his head. He had just got his 
arms in the sleeves, and was trying to hook up 
the back, when an increase in the patter of the 
rain at the window made him drag it off hastily. 
When he perceived there was no one coming he 
tumbled the things back into the box, and, cover- 
ing it carefully, went down the ladder. 

Em was still at her work, trying to adjust a 
new needle in the machine. Gregory drank his 
soup, and then sat before her, an awful and mys- 
terious look in his eyes. 

" I am going to town to-morrow," he said. 

"I'm almost afraid you won't be able to go," 
said Em, who was intent on her needle ; " I don't 
think it is goin£ to leave off to-day." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



3" 



" I am going, " said Gregory. 

Em looked up. 

" But the * sloots ' are as full as rivers — you 
cannot go. We can wait for the post," she said. 

" I am not going for the post," said Gregory 
impressively. 

Em looked for explanation ; none came. 

" When will you be back ? " 

" I am not coming'back." 

" Are you going to your friends ? " 

Gregory waited, then caught her by the wrist. 

" Look here, Em," he said between his teeth, 
"I can't stand it any more. I am going to her." 

Since that day when he had come home and 
found Lyndall gone, he had never talked of her, 
but Em knew who it was who needed to be spoken 
of by no name. 

She said, when he had released her hand, 

" But you do not know where she is ? " 

" Yes, I do. She was in Bloemfontein when I 
heard last. I will go there, and I will find out 
where she went then, and then, and then 1 I 
will have her." 

Em turned the wheel quickly, and the ill- 
adjusted needle sprang into twenty fragments, 

" Gregory," she said, " she does not want us ; 
she told us so clearly in the letter she wrote." 
A flush rose on her face as she spoke. " It will 
only be pain to you, Gregory. Will she like to 
have you near her ? " 

There was an answer he might have made, but 
it was his secret, and he did not choose to share 
it. He said only, 



3i2 THE STORY OP 

" I am going." 

" Will you be gone long, Gregory ? " 

" I do not know ; perhaps I shall never come 
back. Do what you please with my things. I 
cannot stay here ! "" 

He rose from his seat. 

" People say, forget, forget ! " he cried, pacing 
the room. " They are mad ! they are fools ! Do 
they say so to men who are dying for thirst — 
forget, forget? Why is it only to us they say 
so ? It is a lie to say that time makes it easy ; 
it is afterward, afterward, that it eats in at your 
heart ! " 

"All these months," he cried bitterly, _ " I 
have lived here quietly, day after day, as if I 
cared for what I ate, and what I drank, and what 
I did ! I care for nothing ! I cannot bear it ! 
I will not ! Forget ! forget ! " ejaculated Gregory. 
" You can forget all the world, but you cannot 
forget yourself. Wlien one thing is more to you 
than yourself, how are you to forget it ? " 

" I read," he said — " yes ; and then I come to 
a word she used, and it is all back with me 
again ! I go to count my sheep, and I see her 
face before me, and I stand and let the sheep 
run by. I look at you, and in your smile, a 
something at the corner of your lips, I see her. 
How can I forget her when, whenever I turn, 
she is there, and not there ? I cannot, I will 
not, live where I do not see her." 

" 1 know what you think," he said, turning 
upon Em. " You think I am mad ; you think I 
am going to see whether she will not like me ! I 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 313 

am not so foolish. I should have known at first 
she never could suffer me. Who am I, what am 
I, that she should look at me ? It was right 
that she left me ; right that she should not look 
at me. If any one says it is not, it is a lie ! I 
am not going to speak to her," he added— "only 
to see her, only to stand sometimes in a place 
where she has stood before." 

CHAPTER XI. 

AN UNFINISHED LETTER. 

Gregory Rose had been gone seven months. 
Em sat alone on a white sheepskin before the 
fire. 

The August night-wind, weird and shrill, 
howled round the chimneys and through the 
crannies, and in walls and doors, and ■ uttered a 
long low cry as it forced its way among the clefts 
of the stones on the "kopje." It was a wild 
night. The prickly pear-tree, stiff and upright as 
it held its arms, felt the wind's might, and 
knocked its flat leaves heavily together, till great 
branches broke off. The Kaffirs, as they slept 
in their straw huts, whispered one to another that 
before morning there would not be an armful of 
thatch left on the roofs ; and the beams of the 
wagon-house creaked and groaned as if it were 
heavy work to resist the importunity of the 
wind. 

Em had not gone to bed. Who could sleep on 



314 THE STORY OF 

a night like this ? So in the dining-room she had 
lighted a fire, and sat on the ground before it, 
turning the roaster-cakes that lay on the coals to 
bake. It would save work in the morning ; and 
she blew out the light because the wind through 
the window-chinks made it flicker and run ; and 
she sat singing to herself as she watched the 
cakes. They lay at one end of the wide hearth 
on a bed of coals, and at the other end a fire 
burnt up steadily, casting its amber glow over 
Em's light hair and black dress, with the ruffle of 
crape about the neck, and over the white curls of 
the sheepskin on which she sat. 

Louder and more fiercely yet howled the storm ; 
but Em sang on, and heard nothing but the words 
of her song, and heard them only faintly, as some- 
thing restful. It was an old, childish song she 
had often heard her mother sing long ago — 

" Where the reeds dance by the river, 
Where the willow's song is said, 
On the face of the morning water, 
Is reflected a white flower's head." 

She folded her hands and sang the next verse 
dreamily — 

" Where the reeds shake by the river. 
Where the moonlight's sheen is shed, 
On the face of the sleeping water, 
Two leaves of a white flower float dead. 
Dead, Dead, Dead ! " 

She echoed the refrain softly till it died away, 
and then repeated it. It was as if, unknown to 
herself, it harmonized with the picture* and 
thoughts that sat with her there alone in t> * fire- 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



3*5 



light. She turned the cakes over, while the wind 
hurled down a row of bricks from the gable, and 
made the walls tremble. 

Presently she paused and listened ; there was 
a sound as of something knocking at the back 
doorway. But the wind had raised its level 
higher, and she went on with her work. At last 
the sound was repeated. Then she rose, lit the 
candle at the fire, and went to see. Only to sat- 
isfy herself, she said, that nothing could be out 
on such a night. 

She opened the door a little way, and held the 
light behind her to defend it from the wind. 
The figure of a tall man stood there, and before 
she could speak he had pushed his way in, and 
was forcing the door to close behind him. 

" Waldo ! " she cried in astonishment. 

He had been gone more than a year and a 
half. 

" You did not expect to see me," he answered, 
as he turned toward her ; " I should have slept 
in the out-house, and not troubled you to-night ; 
but through the shutter I saw glimmerings of a 
light." 

" Come in to the fire," she said ; " it is a ter- 
rific night for any creature to be out. Shall we 
not go and fetch your things in first ? " she 
added. 

" I have nothing but this," he said, motioning 
to the little bundle in his hand. 

" Your horse ? " 

" Is dead." 

He sat down on the bench before the fire. 



316 THE STORY OF 

" The cakes are almost ready," she said ; " I 
will get you something to eat. Where have you 
been wandering all this while ? " 

" Up and down, up and down," he answered 
wearily ; " and now the whim has seized me to 
come back here. Em," he said, putting his hand 
on her arm as she passed him, " have you heard 
from Lyndall lately ? " 

" Yes," said Em, turning quickly from him. 

" Where is she ? I had one letter from her, 
but that is almost a year ago now — just when she 
left. Where is she ? " 

" In the Transvaal. I will go and get you 
some supper ; we can talk afterward." 

"Can you give me her exact address ? I want 
to write to her? " 

But Em had gone into the next room. 

When food was on the table she knelt down 
before the fire, turning the cakes, babbling rest- 
lessly, eagerly, now of this, now of that. She 
was glad to see him — Tant' Sannie was coming 
soon to show her her new baby — he must stay on 
the farm now, and help her. And Waldo him- 
self was well content to eat his meal in silence, 
asking no more questions. 

" Gregory is coming back next week," she said; 
"he will have been gone just a hundred and 
three days to-morrow. I had a letter from him 
yesterday." 

" Where has he been ? " 

But his companion stooped to lift a cake from 
the fire. 

" How the wind blows ! One can hardly hear 



AN A FRICA N FA RM. 3 1 7 

one's own voice," she said. " Take this warm 
cake ; no one's cakes are like mine. Why, you 
have eaten nothing ! " 

" I am a little weary," he said ; " the wind was 
mad to-night." 

He folded his arms, and rested his head 
against the fireplace, while she removed the 
dishes from the table. On the mantel-piece stood 
an ink-pot and some sheets of paper. Presently 
he took them down and turned up the corner of 
the table-cloth. 

" I will write a few lines," he said, " till you 
are ready to sit down and talk." 

Em, as she shook out the table-cloth, watched 
him bending intently over his paper. He had 
changed much. His face had grown thinner; 
his cheeks were almost hollow, though they were 
covered by a dark growth of beard. 

She sat down on the skin beside him, and felt 
the little bundle on the bench ; it was painfully 
small and soft. Perhaps it held a shirt and a 
book, but nothing more. The old black hat had 
a piece of unhemmed muslin twisted round it, 
and on his elbow was a large patch so fixed on 
with yellow thread that her heart ached. Only 
his hair was not changed, and hung in silky 
beautiful waves almost to his shoulders. To- 
morrow she would take the ragged edge off his 
collar, and put a new band round his hat. She 
did not interrupt him, but she wondered how it 
was that he sat to write so intently after his long 
weary walk. He was not tired now ; his pen hurried 
quickly and restlessly over the paper, and his eye 



318 THE STORY OF 

was bright. Presently Em raised her hand to 
her breast, where lay the letter yesterday had 
brought her. Soon she had forgotten him, as en- 
tirely as he had forgotten her ; each was in his 
own world with his own. He was writing to 
Lyndall. He would tell her all he had seen, all 
he had done, though it were nothing worth relat- 
ing. He seemed to have come back to her, and 
to be talking to her now he sat there in the old 
house. 

" and then I got to the next town, and 

my horse was tired, so I could go no further, and 
looked for work. A shop-keeper agreed to hire 
me as salesman. He made me sign a promise 
to remain six months, and he gave me a little 
empty room at the back of the store to sleep in. 
I had still three pounds of my own, and when 
you have just come from the country three 
pounds seems a great deal. 

"When I had been in, the shop three days I 
wanted to go away again'. A clerk in a shop has 
the lowest work to do of all people. It is much 
better to break stones : you have the blue sky 
above you, and only the stones to bend to. I 
asked my master to let me go, and I offered to 
give him my two pounds and the bag of mealies 
I had bought with the other pound ; but he would 
not. 

" I found out afterward he was only giving me 
half as much as he gave to the others — that was 
why. I had fear when I looked at the other 
clerks that I would at last become like them. 
All day they were bowing and smirking to the 



AN A FRICA N FA RM. 3 1 9 

women who came in ; smiling, when all they 
wanted was to get their money from them. They 
used to run and fetch the dresses and ribbons to 
show them, and they seemed to me like worms 
with oil on. There was one respectable thing in 
that store — it was the Kaffir storeman. His work 
was to load and unload, and he never needed 
to smile, except when he liked, and he never told 
lies. 

" The other clerks gave me the name of Old 
Salvation ; but there was one person I liked very 
much. He was clerk in another store. He often 
went past the door. He seemed to me not like 
others — his face was bright and fresh like a little 
child's. When 'he came to the shop I felt I 
liked him. One day I saw a book in his pocket, 
and that made me feel near him. I asked him if 
he was fond of reading, and he said yes, when 
there was nothing else to do. The next day he 
came to me, and asked me if I did not feel 
lonely ; he never saw me going out with the 
other fellows ; he would come and see me that 
evening, he said. 

" I was glad, and bought some meat and flour, 
because the gray mare and I always ate mealies ; 
it is the cheapest thing ; when you boil it hard 
you can't eat much of it. I made some cakes, 
and I folded my great-coat on the box to make it 
soft for him ; and at last he came. 

" ' You've got a rummy place here,' he said. 

" You see there was nothing in it but packing- 
cases for furniture, and it was rather empty. 
While I was putting the food on the box he 



320 THE STORY OF 

looked at my books ; he read their names out 
aloud. ' Elementary Physiology/ ' First Prin- 
ciples.' 

" ' Golly ! ' he said ; I've got a lot of dry stuff 
like that at home I got for Sunday-school prizes ; 
but I only keep them to light my pipe with now ; 
they come in handy for that.' Then he asked 
me if I had ever read a book called the ' Black- 
1 eyed Creole.' ' That is the style for me,' he said ; 
* there where the fellow takes the nigger-girl by 
the arm, and the other fellow cuts off ! That's 
what I like/ 

" But what he said after that I don't re- 
member, only it made me feel as if I were 
having a bad dream, and I wanted to be far 
away. 

" When he had finished eating he did not stay 
long : he had to go and see some girls home from 
a prayer-meeting ; and he asked how it was he 
never saw me walking out with any on Sunday 
afternoons. He said he had lots of sweethearts, 
and he was going to see one the next Wednesday 
on a farm, and he asked me to lend my mare. I 
told him she was very old. But he said it didn't 
matter; he would come the next day to fetch 
her. 

" After he was gone my little room got back to 
its old look. I loved it so ; I was so glad to get 
into it at night, and it seemed to be reproaching 
me for bringing him there. The next day he 
took the gray mare. On Thursday he did not 
bring her back, and on Friday I found the saddle 
and bridle standing at my door. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 3 2 1 

" In the afternoon he looked into the shop, 
and called out, ' Hope you got your saddle, 
Farber ? Your bag-of -bones kicked out six miles 
from this. I'll send you a couple of shillings to- 
morrow, though the old hide wasn't worth it. 
Good-morning.' 

" But I sprang over the counter, and got him 
by his throat. My father was so gentle with her ; 
he never would ride her up hill, and now this 
fellow had murdered her ! I asked him where 
he had killed her, and I shook him till he slipped 
out of my hand. He stood in the door grin- 
ning. 

" * It didn't take much to kill #Wbag-of-bones, 
whose master sleeps in a packing-case, and waits 
till his company's finished to eat on the plate. 
Shouldn't wonder if you fed her on sugar-bags,' he 
said ;' and, if you think I've jumped her, you'd 
better go and look yourself. You'll find her along 
the road by the "aas-vogels" that are eating 
her.' 

" I caught him by his collar, and I lifted him 
from the ground, and I threw him out into the 
street, half-way across it. I heard the book- 
keeper say to the clerk that there was always the 
devil in those mum fellows ; but they never called 
me Salvation after that. 

" I am writing to you of very small things, but 
there is nothing else to tell ; it has been all small 
and you will like it. Whenever anything has hap- 
pened I have always thought I would tell it to 
you. The back thought in my mind is always 
you. After that only one old man came to visit 
21 



322 THE STORY OF 

me. I had seen him in the streets often ; he al- 
ways wore very dirty black clothes, and a hat 
with crape round it, and he had one eye, so I 
noticed him. One day he came to my room with 
a subscription-list for a minister's salary. When 
I said I had nothing to give he looked at me with 
his one eye. 

" ' Young man,' he said, * how is it I never 
see you in the house of the Lord ? ' I thought 
he was trying to do good, so I felt sorry for him, 
and I told him I never went to chapel. ' Young 
man,' he said, ' it grieves me to hear such godless 
words from the lips of one so young — so far gone 
in the paths of destruction. Young man, if you 
forget God, God will forget you. There is a seat 
on the right-hand side as you go at the bottom 
door that you may get. If you are given over to 
the enjoyment and frivolities of this world, what 
will become of your never-dying soul ? ' 

" He would not go till I gave him half-a-crown 
for the minister's salary. Afterward I heard he 
was the man who collected the pew-rents, and 
got a percentage. I didn't get to know any one 
else. 

" When my time in that shop was done I 
hired myself to drive one of a transport-rider's 
wagons. 

" That first morning, when I sat in the front and 
called to my oxen, and saw nothing about me but 
the hills with the blue coming down to them, and 
the karroo bushes, I was drunk ; I laughed ; my 
heart was beating till it hurt me. I shut my eyes 
tight, that when I opened them I might see there 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 323 

were no shelves about me. There must be a 
beauty in buying and selling if there is beauty in 
everything ; but it is very ugly to me. My life as 
transport-rider would have been the best life in 
the world if I had had only one wagon to drive. 
My master told me he would drive one, I the 
other, and he would hire another person to drive 
the third. But the first day I drove two to help 
him, and after that he let me drive all three. 
Whenever we came to an hotel he stopped be- 
hind to get a drink, and when he rode up to the 
wagons he could never stand ; the Hottentot and 
I used to lift him up. We always traveled all 
night, and used to ' out-span ' for five or six hours 
in the heat of the day to rest. I planned that I 
would lie under the wagon and read for an hour or 
two every day before I went to sleep, and I did 
for the first two or three ; but after that I only 
wanted to sleep like the rest, and I packed my 
books away. When you have three wagons to 
look after all night, you are sometimes so tired 
you can hardly stand. At first when I walked 
along driving my wagons in the night it was glori- 
ous ; the stars had never looked so beautiful to 
me ; and on the dark nights when we rode through 
the bush there were will-o'-the-wisps dancing on 
each side of the road. I found out that even 
the damp and dark are beautiful. But I soon 
changed, and saw nothing but the road and my 
oxen. I only wished for a smooth piece of road, 
so that I might sit at the front and doze. At the 
places where we * out-spanned ' there were some- 
times rare plants and flowers, the festoons hang- 



324 THE STORY OF 

ing from the bush-trees, and nuts and insects, 
such as we never see here ; but after a little while 
I never looked at them — I was too tired. I ate 
as much as I could, and then lay down on my 
face under the wagon till the boy came to wake 
me to 'in-span,' and then we drove on again all 
night ; so it went, so it went. I think sometimes 
when we walked by my oxen I called to them in 
my sleep, for I know I thought of nothing ; I was 
like an animal. My body was strong and well to 
work, but my brain was dead. If you have not 
felt it, Lyndall, you cannot understand it. You 
may work, and work and work, till you are only 
a body, not a soul. Now, when I see one of those 
evil-looking men that come from Europe — navvies, 
with the beast-like, sunken face, different from 
any Kaffir's — I know what brought that look into 
their eyes ; and if I have only one inch of tobacco 
I give them half. It is work, grinding, me- 
chanical work, that they or their ancestors have 
done, that has made them into beasts. You may 
work a man's body so that his soul dies. Work 
is good. I have worked at the old farm from the 
sun's rising till its setting, but I have had time 
to think, and time to feel. You may work a man 
so that all but the animal in him is gone ; and 
that grows stronger with physical labor. You 
may work a man till he is a devil. I know it, be- 
cause I have felt it. You will never understand 
the change that came over me. No one but L 
will ever know how great it was. • But I was never 
miserable ; when I could keep my oxen from 
sticking fast, and when I could find a place to 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 325 

lie down in, I had all I wanted. After I had 
driven eight months a rainy reason came. For 
eighteen hours out of the twenty-four we worked 
in the wet. The mrd went up to the axles 
sometimes, and we had to dig the wheels out, and 
we never went far in a day. My master swore at 
me more than ever, but when he had done he 
always offered me his brandy-flask. When I first 
came he had offered it me, and I had always 
refused ; but now I drank as my oxen did when 
I gave them water— without thinking. At last I 
bought brandy for myself whenever we passed 
a** hotel. 

"One Sunday we 'out-spanned' on the banks 
of a swollen river to wait for its going down. It 
was drizzling still, so I lay under the wagon on 
the mud. There was no dry place anywhere ; 
and all the dung was wet, so there was no fire to 
cook food. My little flask was filled with brandy, 
and I drank some and went to sleep. When I 
woke it was drizzling still, so I drank some more. 
I was stiff and cold ; and my master, who lay by 
me, offered me his flask, because mine was 
empty. I drank some, and then I thought I 
would go and see if the river was going down. I 
remember that I walked to the road, and it seemed 
to be going away from me. When I woke up I 
was lying by a little bush on the bank of the 
river. It was afternoon ; all the clouds had gone, 
and the sky was deep blue. The Bushman boy 
was grilling ribs at the fire. He looked at me, 
and grinned from ear to ear. ' Master was a 
little nice,' he said, ' and lay down in the road. 



326 - THE STORY OF 

Something might ride over master, so I carried 
him there.' He grinned at me again. It was as 
though he said, ' You and I are comrades. 1 
have lain in a road too. I know all about it." 
When I turned my head from him I saw the earth, 
so pure after the rain, so green, so fresh, so blue ; 
— and I was a drunken carrier, whom his leader 
had picked up in the mud, and laid at the road- 
side to sleep out his drink. I remembered my 
old life, and I remembered you. I saw how, one 
day, you would read in the papers — ' A German 
carrier, named Waldo Farber, was killed through 
falling from his wagon, being instantly crushed 
under the wheel. Deceased was supposed to 
have been drunk at the. time of the accident.' 
There are those notices in the paper every month. 
I sat up, and I took the brandy-flask out of my 
pocket, and I flung it as far as I could into the 
dark water. The Hottentot boy ran down to see 
if he could catch it ; it had sunk to the bottom. 
I never drank again. But, Lyndall, sin looks 
much more terrible to those who look at it than 
to those who do it. A Convict, or a man who 
drinks, seems something so far off and horrible 
when we see him ; but to himself he seems quite 
near to us, and like us. We wonder what kind of 
a creature he is ; but he is just we, ourselves. 
We are only the wood, the knife that carves on 
us is the circumstance. 

" I do not know why I kept on working so 
hard for that master. I think it was as the oxen 
come every day and stand by the yokes ; they 
do not know why. Perhaps I would have been 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 327 

with him still : but one day we started with 
loads for the Diamond Fields. The oxen were 
very thin now, and they had been standing about 
Sin the yoke all day without food while the wagons 
Were being loaded. Not far from the town was 
a hill. When we came to the foot the first wagon 
stuck fast. I tried for a little while to urge the 
oxen, but I soon saw the one ' span ' could 
never pull it up. I went to the other wagon to 
loosen that ' span ' to join them on in front, but 
the transport-rider, who was lying at the back 
of the wagon, jumped out. 

" ' They shall bring it up the hill ; and if half 
of them die for it they shall do it alone,' he said. 

" He was not drunk, but in a bad temper, for 
he had been drunk the night before. He swore 
at me, and told me to take the whip and help 
him. We tried for a little time, then I told him 
it was no use, they could never do it. He 
swore louder, and called to the leaders to come 
on with their whips, and together they lashed. 
There was one ox, a black ox, so thin that the ridge 
of his backbone almost cut through his flesh. 

" ' It is you, Devil, is it, that will not pull ? ' 
the transport-rider said. ' I will show you some- 
thing.' He looked like a Devil. 

" He told the boys to leave off flogging, and 
he held the ox by the horn, and took up a round 
stone and knocked its nose with it till the blood 
came. When he had done they called to the 
oxen and took up their whips again, and the oxen 
strained with their backs bent, but the wagon did 
not move an inch. 



328 THE STORY OF 

" ' So you won't, won't you ? ' he said. ' I'll 
help you.' 

" He took out his clasp-knife, and ran it into 
the leg of the trembling ox three times, up to 
the hilt. Then he put the knife in his pocket, 
and they took their whips. The oxen's flanks 
quivered, and they foamed at the mouth. Strain- 
ing, they moved the wagon a few feet forward, then 
stood with bent backs to keep it from sliding 
back. From the black ox's nostril foam and 
blood were streaming on the ground. It turned 
its head in its anguish and looked at me with its 
great starting eyes. It was praying for help in 
its agony and weakness, and they took their 
whips again. The creature bellowed out aloud. 
If there is a God, it was calling to its Maker for 
help. Then a stream of clear blood burst from 
both nostrils ; it fell on to the ground, and the 
wagon slipped back. The man walked up to it. 

" ' You are going to lie down, Devil, are you '.* 
We'll see you don't take it too easy.' 

"The thing was just dying. He opened his 
clasp-knife and stooped down over it. I do not 
know what I did then. But afterward I know I 
had him on the stones, and I was kneeling on 
him. The boys dragged me off. I wish they 
had not. I left him standing in the sand in the 
road, shaking himself, and I walked back to the 
town. I took nothing from that accursed wagon, 
so I had only two shillings. But it did not 
matter. The next day I got work at a wholesale 
store. My work was to pack and unpack goods, 
and to carry boxes, and I had only to work from 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



329 



six in the morning till six in the evening ; so I had 
plenty of time. I hired a little room, and sub- 
scribed to a library, so I had everything I needed ; 
and in the week of Christmas holidays I went to 
see the sea. I walked all night, Lyndall, to 
escape the heat, and a little after sunrise I got to 
the top of a high hill. Before me was a long, 
iow, blue, monotonous mountain. I walked 
looking at it, but I was thinking of the sea I 
wanted to see. At last I wondered what that 
curious blue thing might be ; then it struck me it 
was the sea ! I would have turned back again, 
only I was too tired. I wonder if all the things 
we long to see— the churches, the pictures, the 
men in Europe — will disappoint us so ! You see 
I had dreamed of it so long. When I was a 
little boy, minding sheep behind the * kopje,' I 
used to see the waves stretching out as - far as 
the eye could reach in the sunlight. My sea ! 
Is the ideal always more beautiful than the real ? 
".I got to the beach that afternoon, and I saw 
the water run up and down on the sand, and I 
saw the white foam breakers ; they were pretty, 
but I thought I would go back the next day. It 
was not my sea. 

. " But I began to like it when I sat by it that 
night in the moonlight ; and the next day I liked 
it better ; and before I left I loved it. It was not 
like the sky and stars that talked of what has no 
beginning and no end ; but it is so human. Ot 
all the things I have ever seen, only the sea is 
like a human being ; the sky is not, nor the earth. 
But the sea is always moving, always something 



330 THE STOR Y OF. 

deep in itself is stirring it. It never rests ; it is 
always wanting, wanting, wanting. It hurries on ; 
and then it creeps back slowly without having 
reached, moaning. It is always asking a question, 
and it never gets the answer. I can hear it in 
the day and in the night ; the white foam breakers 
are saying that which I think. I walk alone with 
them when there is no one to see me, and I sing 
with them. I lie down on the sand and watch them 
with my eyes half shut. The sky is better, but 
it is so high above our heads. I love the sea. 
Sometimes we must look down too. After five 
days I went back to Grahamstown. 

" I had glorious books, and in the night I 
could sit in my little room and read them ; but I 
was lonely. Books are not the same things when 
you are living among people. I cannot tell why, 
but they are dead. On the farm they would have 
been living beings to me ; but here, where there 
were so many people about me, I wanted some 
one to belong to me. I was lonely. I wanted 
something that was flesh and blood. Once on 
this farm there came a stranger : I did not ask 
his name, but he sat among the karroo and talked 
with me. Now, wherever I have traveled I have 
looked for him — in hotels, in streets, in passenger 
wagons as they rushed in, through the open win- 
dows of houses I have looked for him, but I have 
not found him — n«iver heard a voice like his. 
One day I went to the Botanic Gardens. It was 
a half-holiday, and the band was to play. I stood 
in the long raised avenue and looked down. There 
were many flowers, and ladies and children were 



AN AFRICAN FARM, 331 

walking about beautifully dressed. At last -the 
music began. I had not heard such music before. 
At first it was slow and even, like the everyday 
life, when we walk through it without thought or 
feeling ; then it grew faster, then it paused, hesi- 
tated, then it was quite still for an instant, and 
then it burst out. Lyndall, they made heaven 
right when they made it all music. It takes 
you up and carries you away, away, till you have 
the things you longed for; you are up close to 
them. You have got out into a large, free, open 
place. I could not see anything while it was play- 
ing; I stood with my head against my tree ; but, 
when it was done, I saw that there were ladies 
sitting close to me on a wooden bench, and the 
stranger who had talked to me that day in the 
karroo . was sitting between them. The ladies 
were very pretty, and their dresses beautiful. I 
do not think they had been listening to the music, 
for they were talking and laughing very softly. I 
heard all they said, and could even smell the rose 
on the breast of one. I was afraid he would see 
me ; so I went to the other side of the tree, and 
soon they got up and began to pace up and down 
in the avenue. All the time the music played 
they chatted, and he carried on his arm the scarf 
of the prettiest lady. I did not hear the music ; 
I tried to catch the sound of his voice each time 
he went by. When I was listening to the music 
I did not know I was badly dressed ; now I felt 
so ashamed of myself. I never knew before what 
a low, horrible thing I was, dressed in tancord. 
That day on the farm, when we sat on the ground 



332 THE STORY OF 

under the thorn-tree**, I thought he quite belonged 
to me ; now, I saw he was not mine. But he was 
still as beautiful. His brown eyes are more beau- 
tiful, than any one's eyes, except yours. 

" At last they turned to go, and I walked after 
them. When they got out of the gate he helped 
the ladies into a phaeton, and stood for a moment 
with his foot on the step talking to them. He 
had a little cane in his hand, and an Italian grey- 
hound ran after him. Just when they rode away 
one of the ladies dropped her whip. 

" ' Pick it up, fellow,' she said ; and when I 
brought it her she threw sixpence on the ground. 
I might have gone back to the garden then ; but 
I did not want music ; I wanted clothes, and to 
be fashionable and fine. I felt that my hands 
were coarse, and that I was vulgar. I never 
tried to see him again. 

" I stayed in my situation four months after that, 
but I was not happy. I had no rest. The people 
about me pressed on me, and made me dissatisfied. 
I could not forget them. Even when I did not 
see them they pressed on me, and made me mis- 
erable. I did not love books ; I wanted people. 
When I walked home under the shady trees in 
the street I could not be happy, for when I passed 
the houses I heard music, and saw faces between 
the curtains. I did not want any of them, but I 
wanted some one for mine, for me. I could not 
help it. I wanted a finer life. 

" Only one day something made me happ). A 
nurse came to the store with a little girl belong- 
ing to one of our clerks. While the maid went 



AN AFRICAN- FARM. ^Z 

mto the office to give a message to its father, the 
little child stood looking at me. Presently she 
came close to me and peeped up into my face. 

"'Nice curls, pretty curls,' she said; 'I like 
curls.' 

" She felt my hair all over with her little hands. 
When I put out my arm she let me take her and 
sit her on my knee. She kissed me with her 
soft mouth. We were happy till the nurse-girj. 
came and shook her, and asked her if she was 
not ashamed to sit on the knee of that strange 
man. But I do not think my little one minded. 
She laughed at me as she went out. 

" If the world was all children I could like it ; 
but men and women draw me so strangely, and 
then press me away, till I am in agony. I was 
not meariVlo live among people. Perhaps some 
day, when I am grown older, I will be able to go 
and live among them and look at them as I look 
at the rocks and bushes, without letting them 
disturb me, and tal« myself from me ; but not 
now. So I grew miserable ; a kind of fever 
seemed to eat me ; I could not icst, or read, or 
think ; so I came back here. I knew you were 
not here, but it seemed as though I should be 
nearer you ; and it is you I want — you that the 
other people suggest to me, but cannot give." 

He had filled all the sheets he had taken, and 
now lifted down the last from the mantel-piece. 
Em had dropped asleep, and lay slumbering 
peacefully on the skin before the fire. Out of 
doors the storm still raged ; but in a fitful manner, 
as though growing half weary of itself. He bent 



334 



THE STORY OF 



over his paper again, with eager flushed cheek, 
and wrote -on. 

" It has been a delightful journey, this journey 
home. I have walked on foot. The evening 
before last, when it was just sunset, I was a little 
footsore and thirsty, and went out of the road to 
look for water. I went down into a deep little 
1 kloof.' Some trees ran along the bottom, and 
I thought I should find water there. The sun 
had quite set when I got to the bottom of it. It 
was very still — not a leaf was stirring anywhere. 
In the bed of the mountain torrent I thought I 
might find water. I came to the bank, and 
leaped down into the dry bed. The floor on 
which I stood was of fine white sand, and the 
banks rose on every side like the walls of a 
room. Above there was a precipice of rocks, 
and a tiny stream of water oozed from them and 
fell slowly on to the flat stone below. Each drop 
you could hear fall like a little silver bell. There 
was one among the trees on the bank that stood 
cut out against the white sky. All the other 
trees were silent ; but this one shook and trem- 
bled against the sty. Everything else was still ; 
but those leaves were quivering, quivering. I 
stood on the sand ; I could not go away. When 
it was quite dark, and the stars had come, I 
crept out. Does it seem strange to you that it 
should have made me so happy ? It is because I 
cannot tell you how near I felt to things that 
we cannot see but we always feel. To-night 
has been a wild, stormy night. I have been 
walking across the plain for h<3urs in the dark, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 335 

I have liked the wind, because I have seemed 
forcing my way through to you. I knew you 
were not here, but I would hear of you. When 
I used to sit on the transport wagon half-sleep- 
ing, I used to start awake because your hands 
were on me. In my lodgings, many nights I 
have blown the light out, and sat in the dark, 
that I might see your face start out more dis- 
tinctly. Sometimes it was the little girl's face who 
used to come to me behind the ' kopje ' when I 
minded sheep, and sit by me in her blue pina- 
fore; sometimes it was older. I love both. I 
am very helpless, I shall never do anything ; but 
you will work, and^I will take your work for 
mine. Sometimes such a sudden gladness seizes 
me when I remember that somewhere in the 
world you are living and working. You are my 
very own ; nothing else is my own so. When I 
have finished I am going to look at your room 
door " 

He wrote ; and the wind, which had spent its 
fury, moaned round and round the house, most 
like a tired child weary with crying. 

Em woke up, and sat before the fire, rubbing 
her eyes, and listening, as it sobbed about the 
gables, and wandered away over the long stone 
walls. 

" How quiet it has grown now," she said, and 
sighed herself, partly from weariness and partly 
from sympathy with the tired wind. He did not 
answer her ; he was lost in his letter. 

She rose slowly after a time, • and rested her 
hand on his shoulder. 



336 THE STORY OF 

M You have many letters to write," she said." 

" No," he answered ; " it is only one to Lyndall." 

She turned away, and stood long before the 
fire looking into it. If you have a deadly fruit 
to give, it will not grow sweeter by keeping. 

'* Waldo, dear," she said, putting her hand on 
his, "leave off writing." 

He threw back the dark hair from his forehead 
and looked at her. 

" It is no use writing any more,"- she said. 

" Why not ? " he asked. 

She put her hand over the papers ha had 
written. 

" Waldo," she said, " Lyndall is dead." 



CHAPTER XII. 



Slowly over the flat came a cart. On the back 
seat sat Gregory, his arms folded, his hat drawn 
over his eyes. A Kaffir boy sat on the front seat 
driving, and at his feet sat Doss, who, now and 
again, lifted his nose and eyes above the level of 
the splashboard, to look at the surrounding coun- 
try ; and then, with an exceedingly knowing wink 
of his left eye, turned to his companions, there- 
by intimating that he clearly perceived his where- 
abouts. No one noticed the cart coming. Waldo, 
who was at work at his carpenter's table in the 
wagon-house, saw nothing, till, chancing to look 
down, he perceived Doss standing before him, the 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



337 



legs trembling, the little nose wrinkled, and a 
series of short suffocating barks giving utterance 
to his joy at reunion. 

Em, whose eyes had ached with looking out 
across the plain, was now at work in a back room, 
and knew nothing till, looking up, she saw Greg j 
ory, with his straw hat and blue eyes, standing in 
the doorway. He greeted her quietly, hung his 
hat up in its old place behind the door, and for 
any change in his manner or appearance he might 
have been gone only the day before to fetch letters 
from the town. Only his beard was gone, and 
his face was grown thinner. He took off his 
leather gaiters, said the afternoon was hot and 
the roads dusty, and asked for some tea. They 
talked of wool, and the cattle, and the sheep, and 
Em gave him the pile of letters that had come 
for him during the months of absence, but of the 
thing that lay at their hearts neither said any- 
thing. Then he went out to look at the kraals, 
and at supper Em gave him hot cakes and coffee. 
They talked abcjut the servants, and then ate their 
meal in quiet She asked no questions. When 
it was ended Gregory went into the front room, 
and lay in the dark on the sofa. 

" Do you not want a light ? " Em asked, ventur- 
ing to look in. 

" No," he answered ; then presently called to 
her, " Come and sit here ; I want to talk to you." 

She came and sat on a footstool near him. 

" Do you wish to hoar anything ? " he asked. 

She whispered, " Yes, if it does not hurt you." 

" What difference does it make to me ? " he 
22 



3 38 THE STORY OF 

said. " If I talk or am silent, is there any 
change ? " 

Yet he lay quiet for a long time. The light 
through the open door showed him to her, where 
he lay, with his arm thrown across his eyes. At 
last he spoke. Perhaps it was a relief to him to 
speak. 

To Bloemfontein in the Free State, to which 
through an agent he had traced them, Gregory 
had gone. At the hotel where Lyndall and her 
stranger had stayed he put up ; he was shown the 
very room in which they had slept. The colored 
boy who had driven them to the next town told 
him in which house they had boarded, and Greg- 
ory went on. In that town he found they had 
left the cart, and bought a spider and four grays, 
and Gregory's heart rejoiced. Now, indeed, it 
would be easy to trace their course. And he 
turned his steps northward. 

At the farm-houses where he stopped the 
" ooms " and " tantes " remembered clearly the 
spider with its four gray horses. At one place 
the Boer-wife told how the tall, blue-eyed English- 
man had bought milk, and asked the way to the 
next farm. At the next farm the Englishman had 
bought a bunch of flowers, and given half-a-crown 
for them to the little girl. It was quite true ; the 
Boer-mother made her get it out of the box and 
show it. At the next place they had slept. Here 
they told him that the great bull-dog, who hated all 
strangers, had walked in in the evening and laid its 
head on the lady's lap. So at every place he 
heard something, and traced them step by step. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 339 

At one desolate farm the Boer had a good deal 
to tell. The lady had said she liked a wagon that 
stood before the door. Without asking the price 
the Englishman had offered a hundred and fifty- 
pounds for the old thing, and bought oxen worth 
ten pounds for sixteen. The Dutchman chuckled, 
for he had the li Salt-reim's " money in the box 
under his bed. Gregory laughed too, in silence ; 
he could not lose eight of them now, so slowly 
they would have to move with that cumbrous ox- 
wagon. Yet, when that evening came, and he 
reached a little wayside inn, no one could tell him 
anything of the travelers. 

The master, a surly creature, half-stupid with 
Boer-brandy, sat on the bench before the door 
smoking. Gregory sat beside him, questioning, 
but he smoked on. He remembered nothing of 
such strangers. How should he know who had 
been there months and months before ? He 
smoked on. Gregory, very weary, tried to awake 
his memory, said that the lady he was seeking 
for was very beautiful, had a little mouth, and 
tiny, very tiny, feet. The man only smoked on 
as sullenly as at first. What wer<* little, very 
little, mouth and feet to him ? But his daughter 
leaned out in the window above. She was dirty 
and lazy, and liked to loll there when travelers 
came, to hear the men talk, but she had a soft 
heart. Presently a hand came out of the window, 
and a pair of velvet slippers touched his shoulder, 
tiny slippers with black flowers. He pulled them 
out of her hand. Only one woman's feet had 
worn them, he knew that. 



340 THE STORY OF 

^ " Left here last summer by a lady," said the 
girl ; " might be the one you are looking for 
Never saw any feet so small." 

Gregory rose and questioned her. 

They might have come in a wagon an^ spider, 
she could not tell. But the gentleman was very 
handsome, tall, lovely figure, blue eyes, wore 
gloves always when he went out. An English 
officer, perhaps ; no Africander, certainly. 

Gregory stopped her. 

The lady ? Well, she was pretty, rather, the 
girl said ; very cold, dull air, silent. They stayed 
for, it might be, five days ; slept in the wing over 
against the "stoep;" quarreled sometimes, she 
thought — the lady. She had seen everything 
when she went in to wait. One day the gentle- 
man touched her hair ; she drew back from him 
as though his fingers poisoned her. Went to the 
other end of the room if he came to sit near her. 
Walked out alone. Coid wife for such a hand- 
some husband, the girl thought ; she evidently 
pitied him, he was such a beautiful man. They 
went away early one morning, how, or in which 
way, the gir> could not tell. 

Gregory inquired of the servants, but nothing 
more was to be learnt ; so the next morning he 
saddled his horse and went on. At the farms he 
came to the good old " ooms " and " tantes " asked 
him to have coffee, and the little shoeless chil- 
dren peeped out at the stranger from behind 
ovens and gables ; but no one had seen what he 
asked for. This way and that he rode to pick up 
the thread he had dropped ; but the spider and 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 341 

the wagon, the little lady and the handsome gen- 
tleman, no one had seen. In the towns he far^l 
yet worse. 

Once indeed hope came to him. On the 
"stoep " of an hotel at which he stayed the night 
in a certain little village, there walked a gentle- 
man, grave and kindly-looking. It was not hard 
to open conversation with him about the weather, 

and then Had he ever seen such and such 

people, a gentleman and lady, a spider and wagon, 
arrive at that pla<ae? The kindly gentleman 
shook his head. What was the lady like, he in- 
quired. 

Gregory painted. Hair like silken floss, small 
mouth, underlip very full and pink, upper lip pink 
but very thin and curled ; there were four white 
spots on the nail of her right hand forefinger, and 
her eyebrows were very delicately curved. 

The gentleman looked thoughtful, as trying to 
remember. 

" Yes ; and a rose-bud tinge in the cheeks ; 
hands like lilies, and perfectly seraphic smile." 

" That is she ! that is she ! " cried Gregory. 

Who else could it be ? He asked where she 
had gone to. The gentleman most thoughtfully 
stroked his beard. He would try to remember. 

Were not her ears ■ Here such a violent fit 

of coughing seized him that he ran away into the 
house. An ill-fed clerk and a dirty barman stand- 
ing in the doorway laughed aloud. Gregory won- 
dered if they could be laughing at the gentleman's 
cough, and then he heard some one laughing in 
the room into which the gentleman had gone. 



342 THE STORY OF ~\" 

He must follow him and try to learn more; but 
he soon found that there was nothing more to be 
learnt there. Poor Gregory ! 

Backward and forward, backward and forward, 
from the dirty little hotel where he had dropped 
the thread, to this farm and to that, rode Gregory, 
till his heart was sick and tired. That fronTthat 
spot the wagon might have gone its own way and 
the spider another was an idea that did not cccm* 
to him. At last he saw it was no use lingering 
in that neighborhood, and pressed on. 

One day, coming to a little town, his horses 
knocked up, and he resolved to rest them there. 
The little hotel of the town was a bright and 
sunny place, like the jovial face of the clean little 
woman who kept it, and who trotted about talking 
always — talking to the customers in the tap-room, 
and to the maids in the kitchen, and to the 
passers-by when she could hail them from the 
windows ; talking, as good-natured women with 
large mouths and small noses always do, in season 
and out. 

There was a little front parlor in the hotel, kept 
for strangers who wanted to be alone. Gregory 
sat there to eat his breakfast, and the landlady 
dusted the room and talked of the great finds at 
the Diamond Fields, and the badness of maid- 
servants, and the shameful conduct of the Dutch 
parson in that town to the English inhabitants. 
Gregory ate his breakfast and listened to nothing. 
He had asked his one question, had had his 
answer ; now she might talk on. 

Presently a door in the corner opened and & 



. AN AFRICAN FARM. 343 

woman came out — a Mozambiquer, with a red 
handkerchief twisted round her head. She 
carried in- her hand a tray, with a slice of toast 
crumbled fine, and a half-filled cup of coffee, and 
an egg broken up, but not eaten. Her ebony 
face grinned complacently as she shut the door 
softly and said " Good-morning." 

The landlady began to talk to her. 

" You are not going to leave her really, Ayah, 
are you ? " she said. " The maids say so ; but 
I'm sure you wouldn't do such a thing." 
• The Mozambiquer grinned. 

" Husband says I must go home." 

" But she hasn't got any one else, and won't 
have any one else. Come, now," said the land- 
lady, " I've no time to be sitting always in a sick 
room, not if I was paid anything for it." 

The Mozambiquer only showed her white teeth 
good-naturedly for answer, and went out, and the 
landlady followed her. 

Gregory, glad to be alone, watched the sunshine 
as it came over the fuchsias in the window, and 
ran up and down on the paneled door in the 
corner. The Mozambiquer had closed it loosely 
behind her, and presently something touched it 
inside. It moved a little, then it was still, then 
moved again ; then through the gap a small nose 
appeared, and a yellow ear overlapping one eye ; 
then the whole head obtruded, placed itself 
critically on one side, wrinkled its nose disap- 
provingly at Gregory, and withdrew. Through 
the half-open door came a faint scent of vinegar, 
and the room was dark and still. 



344 THE STORY OF 

Presently the landlady came back. 

" Left the door open," she said, bustling to 
shut it ; "but a darkey will be a darkey, and 
never carries a head on its shoulders like othei 
folks. Not ill, I hope, sir ? " she said, looking 
at Gregory when she had shut the bedroom 
door. 

" No," said Gregory, M no." 

The landlady began putting the things to- 
gether. 

"Who," asked Gregory, " is In that room ?" 

Glad to have a little innocent piece of gossip 
to relate, and some one willing to hear it, the 
landlady made the most of a little story as she 
cleared the table. Six months before a lady had 
come alone to the hotel in a wagon, with only a 
colored leader and driver. Eight days after a 
little baby had been born. If Gregory stood up 
and looked out at the window he would see a blue 
gum-tree in the graveyard ; close by it was a little 
grave. The baby was buried there. A tiny thing, 
only lived two hours, and the mother herself al 
most went with it. After a while she was better j 
but one day she got up out of bed, dressed her 
self without saying a word to any one, and went 
out. It was a drizzly day; a little time after 
some one saw her sitting on the wet ground under 
the blue gum-tree, with the rain dripping from her 
hat and shawl. They went to fetch her, but she 
would not come until she chose. When she did 
she had gone to bed, and had not risen again 
from it ; never would, the doctor said. 

She was very patient, poor thing. When you 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 34S 

went in to ask her how she was she said always 
" Better " or " Nearly well ! " and lay still in the 
darkened room, and never troubled any one. 
The Mozambiquer took care of her, and she 
would not allow anyone else to touch her; would 
not so much as allow any one else to see her foot 
uncovered. She was strange in many ways, but 
she paid well, poor thing ; and now the Mozam- 
biquer was going, and she would have to take up 
with some one else. 

The landlady prattled on pleasantly, and now 
carried away the tray with the breakfast-things. 
When she was gore Gregory*leaned his head on 
his hands, but he did not think long. 

Before dinner he had ridden out of the town to 
where on a rise a number of transport-wagons 
were out-spanned. The Dutchman driver of one 
wondered at the stranger's eagerness to free him- 
self of his horses. Stolen perhaps ; but it was 
worth his while to buy them at so low a price. 
So the horses changed masters and Gregory 
walked off with his saddle-bags slung across his 
arms. Once out of sight of the wagons he struck 
out of the road and walked across the veld, 
the dry, flowering grasses waving everywhere 
about him; half-way across the plain he came to 
a deep gully which the rain torrents had washed 
out, but which was now dry. Gregory sprang 
down into its red bed. It was a safe place, and 
quiet. When he had looked about him he sat 
down under the shade of an overhanging bank 
and fanned himself with his hat, for the afternoon 
was hot and he had walked fast. At his feet the 



346 THE STORY Ot* 

dusty ants ran about, and the high redshank 
before him was covered by a network of roots and 
fibers washed bare by the rains. Above his head 
rose the clear blue African sky ; at his side were 
the saddle-bags full of women's clothing. Greg- 
ory looked up half plaintively into the blue sky. 

" Am I, am I Gregory Nazianzen Rose ? " he 
said. 

It was all so strange, he sitting there in that 
" sloot " in that up-country plain ! — strange as 
the fantastic, changing shapes in a summer 
cloud. At last, tireji out, he fell asleep, with his 
head against the bank. When he awoke the 
shadow had stretched across the " sloot " and the 
sun was on the edge of the plain. Now he must 
be up and doing. He drew from his breast- 
pocket a little sixpenny looking-glass, and hung 
it on one of the roots that stuck out from the 
bank. Then he dressed himself in one of the 
old fashioned gowns and a great pinked-out col- 
lar. Then he took out a razor. Tuft by tuft the 
soft brown beard fell down into the sand, and the 
little ants took it to line their nests with. Then 
the glass showed a face surrounded by a frilled 
cap, white as a woman's, with a little mouth, a 
very short upper lip, and a receding chin. 

Presently a rather tall woman's figure was mak^ 
ing its way across the " veld." As it passed a 
hollowed-out ant-heap it knelt down, and stuffed 
in the saddle-bags with the man's clothing, clos- 
ing up the ant-hill with bits of ground to look as 
natural as possible. Like a sinner hiding his 
deed of sin, the hider started once and looked 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 347 

round, but yet there was no one near save a 
'* meerkat," who had lifted herself out of her hole 
and sat on her hind legs watching. He did not 
like that even she should see, and when he rose 
she dived away into her hole. Then he walked 
on leisurely, that the dusk might have reached the 
village streets before he walked there. The first 
house was the smith's, and before the open door 
two idle urchins lolled. Ashe hurried up the 
street in the gathering gloom he heard them 
laugh long and loudly behind him. He glanced 
round fearingly, and would almost have fled, but 
that the strange skirts clung about his legs, 
And after all it was only a spark that had alighted 
on the head of one, and not the strange figure 
they laughed at. 

The door of the hotel stood wide open, and thv, 
light fell out into the street. He knocked, anJt 
the landlady came. She peered out to look for 
the cart that had brought the traveler ; but Greg- 
ory's heart was brave now he was so near th^a 
quiet room. He told her he had' come with ti>3 
transport-wagons that stood outside the town. 

He had walked in, and wanted lodgings for tho 
night. 

It was a deliberate lie, glibly told ; he wouij 
have told fifty, though the recording angel ha4 
stood in the next room with his pen dipped in 
the ink. What was it to him ? He. remembered 
that she lay there saying always, " I am better/' 

The landlady put his supper in the little parlor 
where he had sat in the morning. When it was 
on the table she sat down in the rocking-chair, as 



348 THE STOR Y OF 

her fashion was, to knit and talk, that she might 
gather news for her customers in the tap-room. 
In the white face under the queer, deep-fringed 
cap she saw nothing of the morning's traveler. 
The new-comer was communicative. She was a 
nurse by profession, she said ; had come to the 
Transvaal, hearing that good nurses were needed 
there. She had not yet found work. The land- 
lady did not perhaps know whether there would 
be any for her in that town ? 

The landlady put down her knitting and smote 
her fat hands together. 

If it wasn't the very finger of God's Providence, 
as though you saw it hanging out of the sky, she 
said. Here was a lady ill and needing a new 
nurse that very day, and not able to get one to 
her mind, and now — well, if it wasn't enough to 
convert all the atheists and freethinkers in the 
Transvaal she didn't know ! 

Then the landlady proceeded to detail facts. 

"I'm sure you will suit her," she added \ 
" you're just the kind. She has heaps of money 
to pay you with ; has everything that money can 
buy. And I got a letter with a check in it for 
fifty pounds the other day from some one, who 
says I'm to spend it for her, and not to let her 
know. She is asleep now, but I'll take you in to 
look at her." 

The landlady opened the door of the next 
room, and Gregory followed her. A table stood 
near the bed, and a lamp burning low stood on 
it ; the bed was a great four-poster with white 
curtains, and the quilt was of rich crimson satin* 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 349 

But Gregory stood just inside the door with his 
head bent low, and saw no further. 

" Come nearer ! I'll turn the lamp up a bit, 
that you can have a look at her. A pretty thing, 
isn't it ? " said the landlady. 

Near the foot of the bed was a dent in the 
crimson quilt, and out of it Doss's small head and 
bright eyes looked knowingly. 

" See how the lips move ; she is in pain," said 
the landlady. 

Then Gregory looked up at what lay on the 
cushion. A little white, white face, transparent 
as an angel's, with a cloth bound round the fore- 
head, and with soft short hair tossed about on 
the pillow. 

" We had to cut it off," said the woman, touch- 
ing it with her forefinger. " Soft as silk, like a 
wax doll's." 

But Gregory's heart was bleeding. 

" Never get up again, the doctor says," said 
the landlady. 

Gregory uttered one word. In an instant the 
beautiful eyes opened widely, looked round the 
room and into the dark corners. 

" Who is here ? Whom did I hear speak ? " 

Gregory had sunk back behind the curtain; 
the landlady drew it aside, and pulled -him for- 
ward. 

" Only this lady, ma'am — a nurse by profession. 
She is willing to stay and take care of you, if you 
can come to terms with her." 

Lyndall raised herself on her elbow, and cast 
one keen scrutinizing glance over him. 



350 THE STORY OF 

" Have I never seen you before ? " she asked. 

" No." 

She fell back wearily. 

" Perhaps you would like to arrange the terms 
between yourselves/' said the landlady. " Here 
is a chair. I will be back presently." 

Gregory sat down, with bent head and quick 
breath. She did not speak, and lay with half- 
closed eyes, seeming to have forgotten him. 

" Will you turn the lamp down a little ? " she 
said at last ; " I cannot bear the light." 

Then his heart grew braver in the shadow, and 
he spoke. Nursing was to him, he said, his 
chosen life's work. He wanted no money *. if 
She stopped him. 

li I take no service for which I do not pay," she 
said. " What I gave to my last nurse I will give 
to you : if you do not like it you may go." 

And Gregory muttered humbly he would take 
it. 

Afterward she tried to turn herself. He lifted 
her. Ah ! a shrunken little body, he could feel 
its weakness as he touched it. His hands were to 
him glorified for what they had done. 

" Thank you 1 that is so nice. Other people 
hurt me when they touch me," she said. " Thank 
you ! " Then after a little while she repeated 
humbly, " Thank you ; they hurt me so." 

Gregory sat down trembling. His little ewe- 
lamb, could they hurt her ? 

The doctor said of Gregory four days after, 
*' She is the most experienced nurse I ever camt; 
in contact with." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 35 1 

Gregory, standing in the passage, heara it, and 
laughed in his heart. What need had he of ex- 
perience ? Experience teaches us in a millennium 
what passion teaches us in an hour. A Kaffir 
studies all his life the discerning of distant sounds ; 
but he will never hear my step, when my love 
hears it, coming to her window in the dark over 
the short grass. 

At first Gregory's heart was sore when day by 
day the body grew lighter, and the mouth he fed 
took less ; but afterward he grew accustomed to 
it, and was happy. For passion has one cry, one 
only — " Oh, to touch thee, Beloved ! " 

In that quiet room Lyndall lay on the bed with 
the dog at her feet, and Gregory sat in his dark 
corner watching. 

She seldom slept, and through those long, long 
days she would lie watching the round streak of 
sunlight that came through the knot in the shutter, 
or the massive lion's paw on which the wardrobe 
rested. What thoughts were in those eyes ? Greg- 
ory wondered ; he dared not ask. 

Sometimes Doss where he lay on her feet would 
dream that they two were in the cart, tearing over 
the " veld," with the black horses snorting, and 
the wind in their faces ; and he would start up in 
his sleep and bark aloud. Then awaking, he 
would lick his mistress's hand almost remorsefully, 
and slink quietly down into his place. 

Gregory thought she had no pain, she never 
groaned ; only sometimes, when the light was 
v*ear her, he thought he could see slight con- 
tractions about her lips and eyebrows. 



352 THE STORY OF 

He slept on the sofa outside her door. 

One night he thought he heard a sound, and, 
opening it softly, he looked in. She was crying 
out aloud, as if she and her pain were alone in the 
world. The light fell on the red quilt, and the 
little hands that were clasped over the head. 
The wide-open eyes were looking up, and the 
heavy drops fell slowly from them. 

" I cannot bear any more, not any more," she 
said in a deep voice. " Oh, God, God ! have I 
not born in silence ? Have I not endured these 
long, long months ? But now, now, oh God, I 
cannot ! " 

Gregory knelt in the doorway listening. 

" I do not ask for wisdom, not human love, 
not work, not knowledge, not for all things I have 
longed for," she cried ; " only a little freedom 
from pain ! only one little hour without pain ! 
Then I will suffer again." 

She sat up and bit the little hand Gregory loved. 

He crept away to the front door, and stood 
looking out at the quiet starlight. When he came 
back she was lying in her usual posture, the quiet 
eyes looking at the lion's claw. He came close 
to the bed. 

" You have much pain to-night ? " he asked her. 

" No, not much." 

44 Can I do anything for you ? " 

" No, nothing." 

She still drew her lips together, and motionec* 
with her fingers toward the dog who lay sleeping 
at hf»r feet. Gregory lifted him and laid him at 
ber side. She made Gregory turn open the 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 353 

bosom of her night-dress that the dog might 
put his black muzzle between her breasts. Sho 
crossed her arms over him. Gregory left them 
lying there together. 

The next day when they asked her how she 
was, she answered " Better." 

"Some one ought to tell her," said the land- 
lady ; " we can't let her soul go out into eternity 
not knowing, especially when I don't think it was 
all right about the child. You ought to go and 
tell her, Doctor." S B 

So, the little doctor, edged on and on, went in 
at last. When he came out of the room he shook 
his fist in the landlady's face. 

" Next time you have any devil's work to do- 
do it yourself," he said, and shook his fist in her 
face again, and went away swearing. 

When Gregory went into the bedroom he only 
found her moved ; her body curled up, and drawn 
close to the wall. He dared not disturb her. At 
last, after a long time, she turned. 

" Bring me food," she said, " I want to eat. 
Two eggs, and toast, and meat— two large slices 
of toast, please." 

Wondering, Gregory brought a tray with all 
that she had asked for. 

" Sit me up, and put it close to me," she said - 
" I am going to eat it all." She tried to draw the 
things near her with her fingers, and re-arranged 
the plates. She cut the toast into long strips, 
broke open both eggs, put a tiny morsel of 
bread into her own mouth, and fed the dog with 
pieces of meat put into his jaws with her fingers, 
2 3 



354 THE STORY OF 

61 Is it twelve o'clock yet ? " she said ; " I think 
I do not generally eat so early. Put it away care- 
fully, please — no, do not take it away — only on 
the table. When the clock strikes twelve I will 
eat it." 

She lay down trembling. After a little she 
said, 

" Give me my clothes." 

He looked at her. 

" Yes ; I am going to dress to-morrow. I should 
get up now but it is rather late. Put them on that 
chair. My collars are in the little box, my boots 
behind the door." 

Her eyes followed him intently as he collected 
the articles one by one, and placed them on the 
chair as she directed. 

" Put it nearer," she said ; " I cannot see it ; " 
and she lay watching the clothes, with her hand 
under her cheek. 

" Now open the shutter wide," she said ; " I 
am going to read." 

The old, old tone was again in the sweet voice. 
He obeyed her ; and opened the shutter, and 
raised her up among the pillows. 

" Now bring my books to me," she said, motion* 
ing eagerly with her fingers ; " the large book, 
and the reviews, and the plays ; I want them all." 

He piled them round her on the bed ; she drew 
them greedily closer, her eyes very bright, but 
her face as white as a mountain-lily. 

" Now the big one off the drawers. No, you 
need not help me to hold my book," she said; "1 
can hold it for myself." 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 355 

Gregory went back to his corner, and for a little 
time the restless turning over of leaves was to be 
heard. 

" Will you open the window," she said, almost 
querulously, " and throw this book out ? It is so 
utterly foolish. I thought it was a valuable book ; 
but the words are merely strung together, they 
make no sense. Yes — so ! " she said with ap- 
proval, seeing him fling it out into the street. " I 
must have been very foolish when I thought that 
book good." 

Then she turned to read, and leaned her little 
elbows resolutely on the great volume, and knit 
her brows. This was Shakespeare — it must mean 
something. 

" I wish you would take a handkerchief and tie 
it tight round my head, it aches so." 

He had not been long in his seat when he saw 
drops fall from beneath the hands that shaded 
the eyes, on to the page. 

u I am not accustomed to so much light, it 
makes my head swim a little," she said. " Go 
out and close the shutter." 

When he came back, she lay shriveled up 
among the pillows. 

He heard no sound of weeping ; but the 
shoulders shook. He darkened the room com- 
pletely. 

When Gregory went to his sofa that night, she 
told him to wake her early ; she would be dressed 
before breakfast. Nevertheless, when morning 
eame, she said it was a little cold, and lay all day 
watching her clothes upon the chair. Still she 



35 6 THE STORY OF 

sent for her oxen in the country • they would start 
on Monday and go down to the Colony. 

In the afternoon she told him to open tSie 
window wide, and draw the bed near it. 

It was a leaden afternoon, the dull rain-clouds 
rested close to the roofs of the houses, and the 
little street was silent and deserted. Now and 
then a gust of wind eddying round caught up ttte 
dried leaves, whirled them hither and thither 
under the trees, and dropped them again into the 
gutter : then all was quiet. She lay looking out. 
Presently the bell of the church began to toll, 
and up the village street came a long procession. 
They were carrying an old man to his last rest- 
ing-place. She followed them with her eyes till 
they turned in among the trees at the gate. 

" Who was that ? " she asked. 

" An old man," he answered, " a very old man ; 
they say he was ninety-four ; but his name I do 
not know." 

She mused a while, looking out with fixed 
eyes. 

" That is why the bell rang so cheerfully," she 
said. " When the old die it is well ; they have 
had their time. It is when the young die that the 
bells weep drops of blood." . 

" But the old love life," he said ; for it was sweet 
to hear her speak. 

She raised herself on her elbow. 

" They love life, they do not want to die," she 
answered ; " but what of that ? They have had 
their time. They knew that a man's life is three- 
Score years and ten ; they should have made their 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 357 

plans accordingly ! But the young," she said — 
" the young, cut down, cruelly, when they have 
not seen, when they have not known — when they 
have not found— it is for them that the bells 
weep blood, I heard in the ringing it was an 

old man. When the old die Listen to the 

bell ! it is laughing—' It is right, it is right ; he 
has had his time.' They cannot ring so for the 
.young." 

She fell back exhausted ; the hot light died from 
her eyes, and she lay looking out into the street. 
By and by stragglers from the funeral began to 
come back and disappear here and there among 
the houses ; then all was quiet, and the night 
began to settle down upon the village street. 
Afterward, when the room was almost dark, so 
that they could not see each other's faces, she 
said, " It will rain to-night ; " and moved restlessly 
on the pillows. " How terrible when the rain 
falls down on you." 

He wondered what she meant, and they sat on 
in the still darkening room. She moved again. 

" Will you presently take my cloak — the new 
gray cloak from behind the door — and go out 
with it ? You will find a little grave at the foot of 
the tall blue gum-tree ; the water drips off the 
long, pointed leaves: you must cover it up with 
that." F 

She moved restlessly as though in pain. 

Gregory assented, and there was silence again. 
It was the first time she had ever spoken of her 
child. 

" It was so small," she said j " it lived such a 



358 THE STORY OF 

little while — only three hours. They laid it close 
by me, but I never saw it ; I could feel it by me." 
She waited. " Its feet were so cold ; I took them 
in my hand to make them warm, and my hand 
closed right over them they were so little." There 
was an uneven trembling in the voice. " It crept 
close to me ; it wanted to drink, it wanted to be 
warm." She hardened herself. " I did not love 
it ; its father was not my prince ; I did not care for 
it ; but it was so little." She moved her hand. 
" They might have kissed it, one of them, before 
they put it in. It never did any one any harm in 
all its little life. They might have kissed it, one 
of them." 

Gregory felt that some one was sobbing in the 
room. 

Late on in the evening, when the shutter was 
closed and the lamp lighted, and the rain-drops 
beat on the roof, he took the cloak from behind 
the door and went away with it. On his way 
back he called at the village post-office and 
brought back a letter. In the hall he stood read- 
ing the address. How could he fail to know 
whose hand had written it ? Had he not long ago 
studied those characters on the torn fragments 
of paper in the old parlor ? A burning pain was 
at Gregory's heart. If now, now at the last, one 
should come, should step in between ! He carried 
the letter into the bedroom and gave it her. 
" Bring me the lamp nearer," she said. When 
she had read it she asked for her desk. 

Then Gregory sat down in the lamp-light on the 
other side of the curtain, and heard the pencil 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 359 

move on the paper. When he looked round the 
curtain she was lying on the pillow musing. The 
open letter lay at her side ; she glanced at it with 
soft eyes. The man with the languid eyelids 
must have been strangely moved before his hand 
set down those words : " Let me come back to 
you ! My darling, let me put my hand round you, 
and guard you from all the world. As my wife 
they shall never touch you. I have learnt to love 
you more wisely, more tenderly, than of old ; 
you shall have perfect freedom. Lyndall, grand 
little woman, for your own sake be my wife ! 

" Why did you send that money back to me ? 
You are cruel to me ; it is not rightly done." 

She rolled the little red pencil softly between 
her fingers, and her face grew very soft. Yet — 

" It cannot be,"*she wrote ; " I thank you much 
for the love you have shown me ; but I cannot 
listen. You will call me mad, foolish — the world 
would do so ; but I know what I need and the 
kind of path I must walk in. I cannot marry 
you. I will always love you for the sake of what 
lay by me those three hours ; but there it ends. 
I must know and see, I cannot be bound to one 
whom I love as I love you. I am not afraid of 
the world — I will fight the world. One day — per- 
haps it may be far off — I shall find what I have 
wanted all my. life ; something nobler, stronger 
than I, before which I can kneel down. You lose 
nothing by not having me now; I am a weak, 
selfish, erring woman. One day I shall find 
something to worship, and then I shall be -" 

"Nurse," she 'said, "take my desk away; I 



2&0 THE STORY OF 

am suddenly so sleepy ; I will write more to-mor- 
row." She turned her face to the pillow ; it was 
the sudden drowsiness of great weakness. She 
had dropped asleep in a moment, and Gregory 
moved the desk softly, and then sat in the chair 
watching. Hour after hour passed, but he had 
no wish for rest, and sat on, hearing the rain 
cease, and the still night settle down everywhere. 
At a quarter-past twelve he rose, and took a last 
look at the bed where she lay sleeping so peace- 
fully ; then he turned to go to his couch. Before 
he had reached the door she had started up and 
was calling him back. 

" You are sure you have put it up ? " she said, 
with a look of blank terror at the window. " It 
will not fall open in the night, the shutter — you 
aresure? " 

He comforted her. Yes, it was tightly fastened 

" Even if it is shut," she said in a whisper. 
" you cannot keep it out ! You feel it coming in 
at four o'clock, creeping, creeping, up, up ; deadly 
cold ! " She shuddered. 

He thought she was wandering, and laid hei 
little trembling body down among the blankets. 

" I dreamed just now that it was not put up," 
she said, looking into his eyes ; " and it crept right 
in and I was alone with it." 

" What do you fear ? " he asked tenderly. 

" The Gray Dawn," she said, glancing round 
at the window. " I was never afraid of anything, 
never when I was a little child, but I have always 
been afraid of that, You will not let it come in 
to me ? " 



AN AFRICA N FA RM. 361 

" No, no ; I will stay with you, 5 ' he continued. 

But she was growing calmer, " No ; you must 

go to bed. I only awoke with a start ; you must 

be tired. I am childish, that is all ; " but she 

shivered again. 

He sat down .beside her. After some time she 
said, " Will you not rub my feet ? " 

He knelt down at the foot of the bed and took 
the tiny foot in his hand; it was swollen and 
unsightly now, but as he touched it he bent down 
and covered it with kisses. 

" It makes it better when you kiss it : thank 
you. What makes you all love me so ? " Then 
dreamily she muttered to herself : " Not utterly 
bad, not quite bad— what makes them all love 
me so ? " 

Kneeling there, rubbing softly, with his cheek 
pressed against the little foot, Gregory dropped 
to sleep at last. How long he knelt there he 
could not tell ; but when he started up awake 
she was not looking at him. The eyes were fixed 
on the far corner, gazing wide and intent, with 
an unearthy light. 

He looked round fearfully. What did she see 
there ? God's angels come to call her ? Some- 
thing fearful ? He saw only the purple curtain 
with the shadows that fell from it. Softly he 
whispered, asking what she saw there. 

And she said, in a voice strangely unlike her 
own, " I see the vision of a poor weak soul striv- 
ing after good. It was not cut short ; and, in 
the end, it learnt, through tears and much pain, 
tnat holiness is an infinite compassion for others; 



362 THE STORY OF 

that greatness is to take the common things of 
life and walk truly among them ; that " — she 
moved her white hand and laid it on her forehead 
— " happiness is a great love and much serving. 
It was not cut short ; and it loved what it had 
learnt — it loved — and " 

Was that all she saw in the corner ? 

Gregory told the landlady the next morning 
that she had been wandering all night. Yet, 
when he came in to give her her breakfast, she 
was sitting up against the pillow, looking as he 
had not seen her look before. 

" Put it close to me," she said, " and when I 
have had breakfast I am going to dress." 

She finished all he had brought her eagerly. 

" I am sitting up quite by myself," she said. 
" Give me his meat ; " and she fed the dog her- 
self, cutting his food small for him. She moved 
to the side of the bed. 

" Now bring the chair near and dress me. It 
is being in this room so long, and looking at that 
miserable little bit of sunshine that comes in 
through the shutter, that is making me so ill. 
Always that lion's paw ! " she said, with a look 
of disgust at it. " Come and dress me." Greg- 
ory knelt on the floor before her, and tried to 
draw on one stocking, but the little swollen foot 
refused to be covered. 

" It is very funny that I should have grown so 
fat since I have been so ill," she said, peering 
down curiously. " Perhaps it is want of exer- 
cise ? " She looked troubled and said again, 
** Perhaps it is want of exercise." She wanted 



AN AFRICAN FARM. ^ 

Gregory to say so too. But he only found a 
larger pair; and then tried to force the shoes, 
oh, so tenderly ! on to her little feet. 

" There," she said, looking down at them when 
they were on, with the delight of a small child 
over its first shoes, " I could walk far now. How 
nice it looks ! " 

"No," she said, seeing the soft gown he had 
prepared for her, " I will not put that on. Get 
one of my white dresses — the one with the pink 
bows. I do not even want to think I have been 
ill. It is thinking and thinking of things that 
makes them real," she said. " When you draw 
your mind together, and resolve that a thing shall 
not be, it gives way before you ; it is not. Every- 
thing is possible if one is resolved," she said. 
She drew in her little lips together, and Gregory 
obeyed her ; she was so small and slight now it 
was like dressing a small doll. He would have 
lifted her down from the bed when he had fin- 
ished, but she pushed him from her, laughing 
very softly. It was the first time she had laughed 
in those long dreary months. 

" No, no ; I can get down myself," she said, 
slipping cautiously on to the floor. " You see ! " 
She cast a defiant glance of triumph when she 
stood there. " Hold the curtain up high, I want 
to look at myself." 

He raised it, and stood holding it. She looked 
into the glass on the opposite wall. Such a 
queenly little figure in its pink and white. Such 
a transparent little face, refined by suffering into 
an almost angel-like beauty. The face looked at 



3G4 THE STOR Y OF 

her ; she looked back, laughing softly. Doss, 
quivering with excitement, ran round her, bark- 
ing. She took one step toward the door, balanc- 
ing herself with outstretched hands. 

" I am nearly there," she said. 

Then she groped blindly. 

" Oh, I cannot see ! I cannot see ! Where 
am I ? " she cried. 

When Gregory reached her she had fallen with 
her face against the sharp foot of the wardrobe 
and cut her forehead. Very tenderly he raised 
the little crushed heap of muslin and ribbons and 
laid it on the bed. Doss climbed up, and sat 
looking down at it. Very softly Gregory's hands 
disrobed her. 

"You will be stronger to-morrow, and then we 
shall try again," he said, but she neither looked 
at him nor stirred. 

When he had undressed her, and laid her in bed, 
Doss stretched himself across her feet and lay 
whining softly. 

So she lay all that morning, and all that after- 
noon. 

Again and again Gregory crept close to the 
bedside and looked at her ; but she did not speak 
to him. Was it stupor or was it sleep that shone 
under those half -closed eyelids ? Gregory co 
not tell. 

At last in the evening he bent over her. 

" The oxen have come," he said ; " we can 
start to-morrow if you like. Shall I get the wagon 
ready to-night ? " 

Twice he repeated his question. Then she 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 365 

looked up at him, and Gregory saw that all hope 
had died out of the beautiful eyes. It was not 
stupor that shone there, it was despair. 

" Yes, let us go," she said. 

" It makes no difference," said the doctor ; 
" staying or going ; it is close now." 

So the next day^ Gregory carried her out in his 
arms to the wagon which stood " in-spanned " 
before the door. As he laid her down on the 
" kartel " she looked far out across the plain. 
For the first time she spoke that day. 

" That blue mountain, far away ; let us stop 
when we get to it, not before." She closed her 
eyes again. He drew the sails down before and 
behind, and the wagon rolled away slowly. The 
landlady and the nigger stood to watch it from 
the "stoep." 

Very silently the great wagon rolled along the 
grass-covered plain. The driver on the front box 
did not clap his whip or call to his oxen, and 
Gregory sat beside him with folded arms. Behind 
them, in the closed wagon, she lay with the dog 
at her feet, very quiet, with folded hands. He, 
Gregory, dared not be in there. Like Hagar, 
when she laid her treasure down in the wilder- 
ness, he sat afar off : — " For Hagar said, Let me 
not see the death of the child." 

Evening came, and yet the blue mountain was 
not reached, and all the next day they rode on 
slowly, but still it was far off. Only at evening 
they reached it ;- not blue now, but low and brown, 
covered with long waving grasses and rough 
stones. They drew the wagon up close to its 



366 ■ , THE STORY OF 

foot for the night. It was a sheltered, warm 
spot. 

When the dark night had come, when the tired 
oxen were tied to the wheels, and the driver and 
leader had rolled themselves in their blankets 
before the fire, and gone to sleep, then Gregory 
fastened down the sails of the wagon securely. 
He fixed a long candle near the head of the bed, 
and lay down himself on the floor of the wagon 
near the back. He leaned his head against the 
"kartel," and, listened to the chewing of the tired 
oxen, and to the crackling of the fire, till, over- 
powered by weariness, he fell into a heavy sleep. 
Then all was very still in the wagon. The dog 
slept on his mistress's feet, and only two mosqui- 
toes, creeping in through a gap in the front sail, 
buzzed drearily round. 

The night was grown very old when from a 
long, peaceful sleep Lyndall awoke. The candle 
burnt at her head, the dog lay on her feet ; but 
he shivered ; it seemed as though a coldness 
struck up to him from his resting-place. She lay 
with folded hands, looking upward ; and she 
heard the oxen chewing, and she saw the two 
mosquitoes buzzing drearily round and round, and 
her thoughts, — her thoughts ran far back into the 
past. 

Through these months of anguish a mist had 
rested on her mind ; it was rolled together now, 
and the old clear intellect awoke from its long 
torpor. It looked back into the past ; it saw the 
present ; there was no future now. The old 
strong soul gathered itself together for the last 
time j it knew where it stood. 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 367 

Slowly raising ' herself on her elbow, she took 
from the sail a glass that hung pinned there. 
Her fingers were stiff and cold. She put the 
pillow on her breast, and stood the glass against 
it. Then the white face on the pillow looked 
into the white face in the glass. They had looked 
at each other often so before. It had been a child's 
face once, looking out above its blue pinafore ; it 
had been a woman's face with a dim shadow in 
the eyes, and a something which had said, " We 
are not afraid, you and I ; we are together ; wa 
will fight, you and I." Now to-night it had come 
to this. The dying eyes on the pillow looked 
into the dying eyes in the glass ; they knew that 
their hour had come. She raised one hand and 
pressed the stiff fingers against the glass. They 
were growing very still. She tried to speak to 
it, but she would never speak again. Only, the 
wonderful yearning light was in the eyes still. 
The body was dead now, but the soul, clear and 
unclouded, looked forth. 

Then slowly, without a sound, the beautiful 
eyes closed. The dead face that the glass re- 
flected was a thing of marvelous beauty and 
tranquillity. The Gray Dawn crept in over it, 
and saw it lying there. 

Had she found what she sought for — some- 
thing to worship ? Had she ceased from being ? 
Who shall tell us ? There is a veil of terrible 
mist over the face of the Hereafter. 



368 THE STORY OF 



CHAPTER XIII. 

DREAMS. 

" Tell me what a soul desires, and I will tell 
you what it is." So runs the phrase. 

" Tell . me what a man dreams, and I will tell 
you what he loves." That also has its truth. 

For, ever from the earliest childhood to the 
latest age, day by day, and step by step, the 
busy waking life is followed and reflected by the 
life of dreams — waking dreams, sleeping dreams. 
Weird, misty, and distorted as the inverted 
image of a mirage, or a figure seen through the 
mountain mist, they are still the reflections of a 
reality. 

On the night when Gregory told his story, 
Waldo sat alone before the fire, his untasted 
supper before him. He was weary after his day's 
work — too weary to eat. He put the plate down 
on the floor for Doss, who licked it clean, and then 
went back to his corner. After a time the master 
threw himself across the foot of the bed without 
undressing, and fell asleep there. He slept so 
long that the candle burnt itself out, and the room 
was in darkness. But he dreamed a lovely 
dream as he lay there. 

In his dream, to his right rose high mountains, 
their tops crowned with snow, their sides clothed 
with bush mi bathed in the* sunshine. At th§if 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 369 

feet was the sea, blue and breezy, bluer than any 
earthly sea, like the sea he had dreamed of in his 
boyhood. In the narrow forest that ran between 
the mountains and the sea the air was rich with 
the scent of the honey-creeper that hung from 
dark green bushes, and through the velvety grass 
little streams ran purling down into the sea. He 
sat on a high square rock among the bushes, and 
Lyndall sat by him and sang to him. She was 
only a small child with a blue pinafore, and a 
grave, grave, little face. He was looking up at 
the mountains, then suddenly when he looked 
round she was gone. He slipped down from 
his rock, and went to look for her, but he found 
only her little footmarks : he found them on the 
bright green grass, and in the moist sand, and 
there where the little streams ran purling 
down into the sea. In and out, in and out, and 
among the bushes where the honey-creeper hung, 
he went looking for her. At last, far off, in the 
sunshine, he saw her gathering shells upon the 
sand. . She was not a child now, but a woman, 
and the sun shone on her soft brown hair, and in 
her white dress she put the shells she gathered. 
She was stooping, but when she heard his steps 
she stood up, holding her skirt close about her, 
and waited for his coming. One hand she put in 
his, and together they walked on over the glitter- 
ing sand and pink sea-shells ; and they heard the 
leaves talking, and they heard the waters babbling 
on their way to the sea, and they heard the sea 
-singing to itself, singing, singing. 
At last they came to a place where w^s a. long 
«4 



370 THE STORY OF 

reach of pure white sand : there she stood still, 
and dropped on to the sand one by one the shells 
that she had gathered. Then she looked up into 
his face with her beautiful eyes. She said 
nothing ; but she lifted one hand and laid it softly 
on his forehead ; the other she laid on his heart. 

With a cry of suppressed agony Waldo sprang 
from the bed, flung open the upper half of the 
door, and leaned out, breathing heavily. 

Great God ! it might be only a dream, but the 
pain was very real, as though a knife ran through 
his heart, as though some treacherous murderer 
crept on him in the dark ! The strong man drew 
his breath like a frightened woman. 

" Only a dream, but the pain was very real," 
he muttered, as he pressed his right hand upon his 
breast. Then he folded his arms on the door, 
and stood looking out into the starlight. 

The dream was with him still ; the woman who 
was his friend was not separated from him by 
years — only that very night he had seen her. 
He looked up into the night sky that all his life 
long had mingled itself with his existence. There 
were a thousand faces that he loved looking down 
at him, a thousand stars in their glory, in crowns, 
and circles, and solitary grandeur. To the man 
they were not less dear than to the boy they had 
been not less mysterious ; yet he looked up at them 
and shuddered ; at last turned away from them 
with horror. Such countless multitudes, stretch- 
ing out far into space, and yet not in one of them 
all was she ! Though he searched through them 
all, to the farthest, faintest point of light, nowhere 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 371 

should he ever say, " She is here ! " To- 
morrow's sun would rise and gild the world's 
mountains, and shine into its thousand valleys ; 
it would set and the stars creep out again. Year 
after year, century after century, the old changes 
of nature would go on, day and night, summer 
and winter, seed-time and harvest; but in none of 
them all would she have part ! 

He shut the door to keep out their hideous 
shining, and because the dark was intolerable lit 
a candle, and paced the little room, faster and 
faster yet. He saw before him the long ages of 
eternity that would roll on, on, on, and never 
bring her. She would exist no more. A dark 
mist filled the little room. 

" Oh, little hand ! oh, little voice ! oh, little 
form ! " he cried ; " oh, little soul that walked 
with mine ! oh, little soul that looked so fearlessly 
down into the depths, do you exist no more for- 
ever—for all time ? " He cried more bitterly : 
" It is for this hour — this — that men blind reason, 
and crush out thought. For this hour— this, this 
— they barter truth and knowledge, take any lie, 
any creed, so it does not whisper to them of the 
dead that they are dead ! Oh, God ! God ! for a 
Hereafter!" # 

Pain made his soul weak ; it cried for the old 
faith. They are the tears that fall into the new- 
made grave that cement the power of the priest. 
For the cry of the soul that loves and loses is this, 
only this : " Bridge over Death ; blend the Here 
with the Hereafter ; cause the mortal to robe him- 
self in immortality ; let me not say of my Dead 



that it is dead ! I will believe all else, bear all 
else, endure all else ? " 

Muttering to himself, Waldo walked with bent 
head, the mist in his eyes. 

To the soul's wild cry for its own there are 
many answers.. He began to think of them. 
Was not there one of them all from which he 
might suck one drop of comfort ? 

" You shall see her again," says the Christian, 
the true Bible Christian. " Yes ; you shall see 
her again. * And I saw the dead, great and small, 
stand before God. And the books were opened, and 
the dead were judged from those things which were 
written in the b^oks. And whosoever was not 
puna written in the book of life was cast i?ito the 
lake of fire, which is the second death? Yes ; you 
shall see her again. She died so — with her knee 
unbent, with her hand unraised, with a prayer 
unuttered, in the pride of her intellect and the 
strength of her youth. She loved and she was 
loved ; but she said no prayer to God ; she cried 
for no mercy ; she repented of no sin ! Yes ; you 
shall see her again." 

In his bitterness Waldo laughed low. 

Ah, he had long ceased to hearken to the hell- 
ish voice. 

But yet another speaks. 

" You shall see her again," says the nineteenth- 
century Christian, deep into whose soul modern 
unbelief and thought have crept, though he knows 
it not. He it is who uses his Bible as the pearl- 
fishers use their shells, sorting out gems from 
refuse j he sets his pearls after his own fashion, 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



373 



and he sets them well " Do not fe9\," he says ; 
" hell and judgment are not. God is love. I 
know that beyond this blue sky above us is a love 
as wide-spreading over all. The All-Father will 
show her to you again ; not spirit only — the little 
hands, the little feet you loved, you shall lie down 
and kiss them if you will. Christ arose, and did 
eat and drink, so shall she arise. The dead, all 
the dead, raised incorruptible ! God is love. 
You shall see her again." 

It is a heavenly song, this of the nineteenth- 
century Christian. A man might dry his tears to 
listen to it, but for this one thing, — Waldo mut- 
tered to himself confusedly : — 

" The thing I loved was a woman proud and 
young ; it had a mother once, who, dying, kissed 
her little baby, and prayed God that she might 
see it again. If it had lived the loved thing 
would itself have had a son, who, when he closed 
the weary eyes and smoothed the wrinkled fore- 
head of his mother, would have prayed God to 
see that old face smile again in the Hereafter. 
To the son heaven will be no heaven if the sweet 
worn face is not in'one of the choirs ; he will look 
for it through the phalanx of God's glorified 
angels ; and the youth will look for the maid, and 
the mother for the baby. ' And whose then shall 
she be at the resurrection of the dead ? ' " 

" Ah God ! ah God ! a beautiful dream/' he 
cried ; " but can any one dream it not sleeping ? " 

Waldo paced on, moaning in agony and longing. 

He heard the Transcendentalist's high answer. 

"What have you to do with flesh, the gross and 



374 THE STORY OF 

miserable garment in which spirit hides itself? 
You shall see her again. But the hand, the foot, 
the forehead you loved, you shall see no more. 
The loves, the fears, the frailties that are born 
with the flesh, with the flesh they shall die. Let 
them die ! There is that in man that cannot die, 
— a seed, a germ, an embryo, a spiritual essence. 
Higher than she was on earth, as the tree is 
higher than the seed, the man than the embryo, 
so shall you behold her ; changed, glorified ! " 

High words, ringing well ; they are the offer- 
ing of jewels to the hungry, of gold to the man 
who dies for bread. Bread is corruptible, gold 
is incorruptible ; bread is light, gold is heavy ; 
bread is common, gold is rare ; but the hungry 
man will barter all your mines for one morsel of 
bread. Around God's throne there may be choirs 
and companies of angels, cherubim and seraphim, 
rising tier above tier, but not for one of them all 
does the soul cry aloud. Only perhaps for a 
little human woman full of sin that it once 
loved. 

" Change is death, change is death," he cried. 
" I want no angel, only she ; no holier and no 
better, with all her sins upon her, so give her me 
or give me nothing ! " 

And, truly, does not the heart love its own with 
the strongest passion for their very frailties ? 
Heaven might keep its angels if men were but 
left to men. 

" Change is death," he cried, " change is death ! 
Who dares to say the body never dies, because 
it turns again to grass and flowers? And yet 



AM AFRICAN FARM. 



375 



they dare to say the spirit never dies, because in 
space some strange unearthly being may have 
sprung up upon its ruins. Leave me ! Leave 
me ! " he cried in frantic bitterness. " Give me 
back what I have lost, or give me nothing." 

For the soul's fierce cry for immortality is this, 
— only this :— Return to me after death the thing 
as it was before. Leave me in the Hereafter the 
being I am to-day. Rob me of the thoughts, the 
feelings, the desires that are my life, and you 
have left nothing to take. Your immortality is 
annihilation, your Hereafter is a lie. 

Waldo flung open the door, and walked out 
into the starlight, his pain-stricken thoughts ever 
driving him on as he paced there. 

"There must be a Hereafter because man 
longs for it ! " he whispered. " Is not all life 
from -the cradle to the grave one long yearning 
for that which we n«ver touch ? There must be 
a Hereafter because we cannot think of any end 
to life. Can we think of a beginning? Is it 
easier to say ' I was not ' than to say ' I shall 
not be' ? And yet, where were we ninety years 
ago ? Dreams, dreams ! Ah, all dreams and 
lies ! No ground anywhere." 

He went back into the cabin and walked there. 
Hour after hour passed, and he was dreaming. 

For, mark you, men will dream ; the most that 
can be asked of them is but that the dream be 
not in too glaring discord with the thing they 
know. He walked with bent head. 

All dies, all dies ! the roses are red with the 
matter that once reddened the cheek of the child ; 



376 THE STORY OF 

the flowers bloom the fairest on the last year's 
battle-ground ; the work of death's finger cun- 
ningly wreathed over is at the heart of all things, 
even of the living. Death's finger is everywhere. 
The rocks are built up of a life that was. Bodies, 
thoughts, and loves die : from where springs that 
whisper to the tiny soul of man, " You shall not 
die " ? Ah, is there no truth of which this dream 
is shadow ? 

He fell into perfect silence. And, at last, as 
he walked there with his bent head, his soul 
passed down the steps of contemplation into that 
vast land where there is always peace ; that land 
where the soul, gazing long, loses all conscious- 
ness of its little self, and almost feels its hand on 
the old mystery of Universal Unity that sur- 
rounds it. 

" No death, no death," he muttered ; " there is 
that which never dies — which abides. It is but 
the individual that perishes, the whole remains. 
It is the organism that vanishes, the atoms- are 
there. It is but the man that dies, the Universal 
Whole of which he is part reworks him into its 
inmost self. Ah, what matter that man's day be 
short ! — that the sunrise sees him, and the sun- 
set sees his grave ; that of which he is but the 
breath has breathed him forth and drawn him back 
again. That abides — we abide." 

For the little soul that cries aloud for continued 
personal existence for itself and its beloved, there 
is no help. For the soul which knows itself no 
more as a unit, but as a part of the Universal 
Unitj of which the Beloved also is a part ; which 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 377 

feels within itself the throb of the Universal Life; 
for that soul there is no death. 

" Let us die, beloved, you and I, that we may 
pass on forever through the Universal Life ! " 
In that deep world of contemplation all fierce 
desires die out, and peace comes down. He, 
Waldo, as he walked there, saw no more the 
world that was about him; cried out no more 
for the thing that he had lost. His soul rested. 
Was it only John, think you, who saw the heavens 
open ? The dreamers see- it every day. 

Long years before the father had walked in 
the little cabin, and seen choirs of angels, and a 
prince like unto men, but clothed in immortality. 
The son's knowledge was not as the father's, 
therefore the dream was new-tinted, but the 
sweetness was all there, the infinite peace, that 
men find not in the little cankered kingdom of 
the tangible. The bars of the real are set close 
about us ; we cannot open our wings but they 
are struck against them, and drop bleeding. But 
when we glide between the bars into the great 
unknown beyond, we may sail forever in the 
glorious blue, seeing nothing but our own shadows. 

So age succeeds age, and dream succeeds 
dream, and of the joy of the dreamer no man 
knoweth but he who dreameth. 

Our fathers had their dream ; we have ours ; 
the generation that follows will have its own. 
Without dreams and phantoms man cannot exist. 



378 THE STORY OF 

CHAPTER XIV. 

WALDO GOES OUT TO SIT IX THE SUNSHINE. 

It had been a princely day. The long morn- 
ing had melted slowly into a rich afternoon. 
Rains had covered the karroo with a heavy coat 
of green that hid the red earth even-where. In 
the very chinks of the stone walls dark green 
leaves hung out, and beauty and growth had crept 
even into the beds of the sandy furrows and lined 
them with weeds. On the broken sod-walls of 
the old pigsty chick-weeds flourished, and ice- 
plants lifted their transparent leaves. Waldo was 
at work in the wagon-house again. He was mak- 
ing a kitchen-table for Em. As the long curls 
gathered in heaps before his plane, he paused for 
an instant now and again to throw one down to 
a small naked nigger, who had crept from its 
mother, who stood churning in the sunshine, and 
had crawled into the wagon-house. From time 
to time the little animal lifted its fat hand as it 
expected a fresh shower of curls ; till Doss, jeal- 
ous of his master's noticing any other small 
creature but himself, would catch the curl in its 
mouth and roll the little Kaffir over in the saw- 
dust, much to that small animal's contentment. 
It was too lazy an afternoon to be really ill 
natured, so Doss satisfied himself with snapping 
at the little nigger's fingers, and sitting on him till 
he laughed. Waldo, as he worked, glanced down 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 



379 



at them now and then, and smiled ; but he never 
looked out across the plain. He was conscious 
without looking of that broad green earth ; it made 
his work pleasant to him. Near the shadow at 
the gable the mother of the little nigger stood 
churning. Slowly she raised and let fall the stick 
in her hands, murmuring to herself a sleepy chant 
such as her people love ; it sounded like the hum- 
ming of far-off bees. 

A different life showed itself in the front of the 
house, where Tant' Sannie's cart stood ready in- 
spanned, and the Boer-woman herself sat in the 
front room drinking coffee. She had come to 
visit her step-daughter, probably for the" last time, 
as she now weighed two hundred and sixty 
pounds, and was not easily able to move. On a 
chair sat her mild young husband nursing the 
baby — a pudding-faced, weak-eyed child. 

" You take it and get into the cart with it," 
said Tant' Sannie. "What do you want here, 
listening to our woman's talk ? " 

The young man arose, and meekly went out 
with the baby. 

" I'm very glad you are going to be married, my 
child," said Tant' Sannie, as she drained the last 
drop from her coffee-cup. " I wouldn't say so 
while that boy was here, it would make him too 
conceited ; but marriage is the finest thing in the 
world. I've been at it three times, and if it 
pleased God to take this husband from me I 
should have another. There's nothing like it, my 
child ; nothing." 

" Perhaps it might not suit all people, at all 



380 THE STORY OF 

times, as well as it suits you, Taut' Sannie," said 
Em. There was a little shade of weariness in the 
voice. 

" Not suit every one ! " said Tant' Sannie. 
" If the beloved Redeemer didn't mean men to 
have wives what did He make women for ? that's 
what I say. If a woman's old enough to marry, 
and doesn't, she's sinning against the Lord — it's 
a wanting to know better than Him. What does 
she think the Lord took all that trouble in mak- 
ing her for nothing ? It's evident He wants 
babies, otherwise why does He. send them ? Not 
that I've done much in that way myself," said 
Tant' Sannie sorrowfully ; " but I've done my 
best." 

She rose with some difficulty from her chairj 
and began moving slowly toward the door. 

" It's a strange thing," she said, " but you can't 
love a man till you've had a baby by him. Now 
there's that boy there, — when we were first mar- 
ried, if he only sneezed in the night I boxed his 
ears ; now if he lets his pipe-ash come on my 
milk-cloths I don't think of laying a finger on him. 
There's nothing like being married," said Tant' 
Sannie, as she puffed tow r ard the door. " If a 
woman's got a baby and a husband she's got the 
best things the Lord can give her ; if only the 
baby doesn't have convulsions. As for a hus- 
band, it's very much the same who one has. 
Some men are fat, and some men are thin ; some 
drink brandy, and some men drink gin ; but it all 
comes to the same thing in the end ; it's all one* 
A man's a man, you know." 



AN AFRICAN FARM 381 

Here they came upon Gregory, who was sitting 
in the shade before the house. Tanf Sarmie 
shook hands with him. 

» I'm dad you're going to get married she 
said "I hope you'll have as many children in 
five years as a cow has calves, and more too. I 
think I'll just go and have a look at your soap- 
pot before I start," she said, turning to Km. 
"Not that I believe in this new plan of putting 
soda in the pot. If the dear Father had meant 
soda to be put into soap, what would He have 
made milk-bushes for, and stuck them all over the 
< veld ' as thick as lambs in the lambing season ? 

She waddled off after Em in the direction of 
the built-in soap-pot, leaving Gregory as they 
found him, with his dead pipe lying on the bench 
beside him, and his blue eyes gazing out far 
across the flat, like one who sits on the sea-shore 
watching that which is fading, fading from him 
Against his breast was a letter found m a desk 
addressed to himself, but never posted. It held 
only four words : " You must marry Em. He 
wore it in a black bag round his neck. It was the 
only letter she had ever written to him. 

"You see if the sheep don't have the scab this 
vear ' " said Tanf Sannie as she waddled after 
Fm ' " It's with all these new inventions that the 
math of God must fall on us. What were the 
Children of Israel punished for, if it wasnt for 
making the golden calf? I may have my sins, 
but I do remember the tenth commandment: 
« Honor thy father and thy mother that it may be 
well with thee, and that thou mayst live long in 



382 THE STORY OF 

the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee If* 
It's all very well to say we honor them, and then 
to be rinding out things that they never knew, 
and doing things in a way they never did them J 
My mother boiled soap with bushes, and I will 
boil soap with bushes. If the wrath of God is 
to fall upon this land," said Tant' Sannie, with 
the serenity of conscious virtue, "it shall not be 
through me. Let them make their steam wagons 
and their fire-carriages ; let them go on as though 
the dear Lord didn't know what He was about 
when He gave horses and oxen legs — the destruc- 
tion of the Lord will follow them. I don't know 
how such people read their Bibles. When do we 
hear of Moses or Noah riding in a railway ? The 
Lord sent fire-carriages out of heaven in those 
days ; there's no chance of His sending them for 
us if we go on in this way," said Tant' Sannie 
sorrowfully, thinking of the splendid chance which 
this generation had lost. 

Arrived at the soap-pot, she looked over into it 
thoughtfully. 

" Depend upon it you'll get the itch, or some 
other disease ; the blessing of the Lord '11 never 
rest upon it," said the Boer-woman. Then sud- 
denly she broke forth. " And she eighty-two, 
and goats, and rams, and eight thousand morgen, 
and the rams real angora, and two thousand sheep, 
and a short-horned bull," said Tant' Sannie, stand- 
ing upright and planting a hand on each hip. 

Em looked at her in silent wonder. Had con- 
nubial bliss and the joys of motherhood really 
turned the old Boer-woman's head ? 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 383 

" Yes," said Tant' Sannie ; " I had almost for- 
gotten to tell you. By the Lord, if I had him herel 
We were walking to church last Sacrament Sun< 
day, Piet and I. Close in front of us was old 
Tant' Trana, with dropsy and cancer, and can't 
live eight months. Walking by her was some- 
thing with its hands under its coat-tails, flap, 
flap, flap ; and its chin in the air, and a stick-up 
collar, and the black hat on the very back of the 
head. I knew him! * Who's that?' I asked. 
< The rich Englishman that Tant' Trana married 
last week.' ' Rich Englishman ! I'll rich Eng- 
lishman him,' I said ; ' I'll tell Tant' Trana a thing 
or two.' My ringers were just in his little white 
curls. If -it hadn't been the blessed Sacrament, 
he wouldn't have walked so ' sourka sourka, 
courka,' any more. But I thought, Wait till I've 

had it, and then But he, sly fox, son of Satan, 

seed of the Amalekite, he saw me looking at 
him in the church. The blessed Sacrament 
wasn't half over when he takes Tant' Trana by 
the arm, and out they go. I clap my baby down 
to its father, and I go after them. But," said 
Tant' Sannie, regretfully, " I couldn't get up to 
them ; I am too fat. When I got to the corner 
he was pulling Tant' Trana up into the cart. 
* Tant' Trana,' I said, ' you've married a Kaffir's 
dog, a Hottentot's 'brakje.' I hadn't anymore 
breath. He winked at me ; he winked at me," 
said Tant' Sannie, her sides shaking with indigna- 
tion, " first with one eye, and then with the other, 
and then drove away. Child of the Amalekite ! M 
said Tant' Sannie, " if it hadn't been the blessed 
Sacrament. Lord, Lord. Lord ! " 



:#; 






384 THB BTORY OF 

Here the little Bush-girl came running to say 
that the horses would stand no longer, and still 
breathing out vengeance against her old adver- 
sary she labored toward the cart. Shaking hands 
and affectionately kissing Em, she was with some 
difficulty drawn up. Then slowly the cart rolled 
away, the good Boer-women putting her head out 
between the sails to smile and nod. Em stood 
watching it for a time, then as the sun dazzled 
her eyes she turned away. There was no use 
in going to sit with Gregory : he liked best sit- 
ting there alone, staring across the green karroo : 
and till the maid had done churning there was 
nothing to do ; so Em walked away to the wagon- 
house, and climbed on to the end of Waldo's 
table, and sat there, swinging one little foot 
slowly to and fro, while the wooden curls from 
the plane heaped themselves up against her 
black print dress. 

" Waldo," she said at last, " Gregory has given 
me the money he got for the wagon and oxen, 
and I have fifty pounds besides that once be- 
longed to some one. I know what they would 
have liked to have done with it. You must take it 
and go to some place and study for a year or two." 

" No, little one, I will not take it," he said, as 
he planed slowly away ; " the time was when I 
would have been very grateful to any one who 
Would have given me a little money, a little help, 
a little power of gaining knowledge. But now, I 
have gone so far alone I may go on to the end. 
I don't want it, little one." 
She did not seem pained at his refusal, but swung 



AN AFRICAN FARM 385 

W foot to and fro, the little old wrinkled forehead 
more wrinkled up than ever. 

" Why is it always so, Waldo, always so? " she 
said ; " we long for things, and long for them, 
and pray for them ; we would give all we have to 
come near to them, but we never reach them. 
Then at last, too late, just when we don't want 
them any more, when all the sweetness is taken 
out of them, then they come. We don't want 
them then," she said, folding her hands resign- 
edly on her little apron. After a while she added, 
" I remember once, very long ago, when I was a 
very little girl, my mother had a work-box full 
of colored reels. I always wanted to play with 
them, but she would never let me. At last one 
day she said I might take the box. I was so 
glad I hardly knew what to do. I ran round the 
house, and sat down with it on the back steps. 
But when I opened the box all the cottons 
were taken out." 

She sat for a while longer, till the Kaffir maid 
had finished churning, and was carrying the 
butter toward the house. Then Em prepared 
to slip off the table, but first she. laid her little 
hand on Waldo's. He stopped his planing and 
? ooked up. 

" Gregory is going to the town to-morrow. He 
ts going to give in our banns to the minister; we 
are going to be married in three weeks." 

Waldo lifted her very gently from the table. 
He did not congratulate her ; perhaps he thought 
of the empty box, but he kissed her forehead 
g~avely. 

2 S 



386 THE Sl'OR Y OF 

She walked away toward the house, but stopped 
when she had got half-way. " I will bring you n. 
glass of butter-milk when it is cool," she called 
out ; and soon her clear voice came ringing out 
through the back windows as she sang the " Blue 
Water " to herself, and washed the butter. 

Waldo did not wait till she returned. Perhaps 
he had at last really grown weary of work ; per- 
haps he felt the wagon-house chilly (for he had 
shuddered two or three times), though that was 
hardly likely in that warm summer weather ; or, 
perhaps, and most probably, one of his old dream- 
ing fits had come upon him suddenly. He put 
his tools carefully together, ready for to-morrow,, 
and walked slowly out. At the side of the wagon- 
house there was a world of bright sunshine, and 
a hen with her chickens was scratching among 
the gravel. Waldo seated himself near them 
with his back against the red-brick ,walL The 
long afternoon was half spent, and the " kopje " 
was just beginning to cast its shadow over the 
round-headed yellow flowers that grew between 
it and the farm-house. Among the flowers the 
white butterflies hovered, and on the old " kraal ** 
mounds three white kids gamboled, and at the 
door of one of the huts an old gray-headed Kaffir^ 
woman sat on the ground mending her mats. A 
balmy, restful peacef ulness seemed to reign every- 
where. Even the old hen seemed well satisfied. 
She scratched among the stones and called to 
her chickens when she found a treasure ; and all 
the while tucked to herself with intense inward 
satisfaction. Waldo, as he sat with his knees 



AJV AFRICAN FARM. 387 

drawn up to his chin, and his arms folded on 
them, looked at it all and smiled. An evil world, 
a deceitful, treacherous, mirage-like world, it 
might be ; but a lovely world for all that, and to sit 
there gloating in the sunlight was perfect. It was 
worth having been a little child, and having cried 
and prayed, so one might sit there. He moved 
his hands as though he were washing them in the 
sunshine. There will always be something worth 
living for while there are shimmery afternoons. 
Waldo chuckled with intense inward satisfaction 
as the old hen had done ; she, over the insects and 
the warmth ; he over the old brick-walls, and the 
haze, and the little bushes. Beauty is God's wine, 
with which he recompenses the souls that love 
him ; he makes them drunk. 

The fellow looked, and at last stretched out 
one hand to a little ice-plant that grew on the 
sod-wall of the sty ; not as though he would have 
picked it, but as it were in a friendly greeting. 
He loved it. One little leaf- of the ice-plant stood 
upright, and the sun shone through it. He could 
see every little crystal cell like a drop of ice in 
the transparent green, and it thrilled him. 

There are only rare times when a man's soul 
can see Nature. So long as any passion holds 
its revel there, the eyes are holden that they 
should not see her. 

Go out if you will, and walk alone on the hill- 
side in the evening, but if your favorite child lies 
ill at home, or your lover comes to-morrow, or at 
your heart there lies a scheme for the holding of 
wealth, then you will return as you went out ; 



388 THE STOR Y OF 

you will have seen nothing. For Nature, ever, 
like the old Hebrew God, cries out, " Thou shate 
have no other gods before Me." Only then, wheu 
there comes a pause, a blank in your life, when 
the old idol is broken, when the old hope is dead, 
when the old desire is crushed, then the Divine 
compensation of Nature is made manifest. She 
shows herself to you. So near she draws you„ 
that the blood seems to flow from her to you, 
through a still uncut cord : you feel the throb of 
her life. 

When that day comes, that you sit down broken 
without one human creature to whom you cling,, 
with your loves the dead and the living-dead; 
when the very thirst for knowledge through long 
continued thwarting has grown dull ; when in the 
present there is no craving, and in the future no 
hope, then, oh, with a beneficent tenderness, 
Nature enfolds you. 

Then the large white snow-flakes as they flut- 
ter down, softly, one by one, whisper soothingly, 
" Rest, poor heart, rest ! " It is as though our 
mother smoothed our hair, and we are comforted 

And yellow-legged bees as they hum make a 
dreamy lyric ; and the light on the brown stone 
wall is a great work of art ; and the glitter through 
the leaves makes the pulses beat. 

Well to die then ; for, if you live, so surely as 
the years come, so surely as the spring succeeds 
the winter, so surely will passions arise. They 
%vill creep back, one by one, into the bosom that 
has cast them forth, and fasten there again, and 
peace will go. Desire, ambition, and the fierce., 



AN AFRICAN FARM. 385 

agonizing flood of love for the living — they will 
spring again. Then Nature will draw down her 
veil : with all your longing you shall not be able 
to raise one corner ; you cannot bring back those 
peaceful days. Well to die then ! 

Sitting there with his arms folded on his knees, 
and his hat slouched down over his face, Waldo 
looked out into the yellow sunshine that tinted 
even the very air with the color of ripe corn, and 
was happy. 

He was an uncouth creature with small learn- 
ing, and no prospect in the future but that of 
making endless tables and stone walls, yet it 
seemed to him as he sat there that life was a rare 
and very rich thing. He rubbed his hands in the 
sunshine. Ah, to live on so, year after year, how 
well! Always in the present; letting each day 
glide, bringing its own labor and its own beauty ; 
the gradual lighting up of the hills, night and 
the stars, firelight and the coals ! To live on so, 
calmly, far from the paths of men \ and to look at 
the lives of clouds and insects ; to look deep into 
the heart of flowers, and see how lovingly the 
pistil and the stamens nestle there together ; and 
to see in the thorn-pods how the little seeds suck 
their life through the delicate curled-up string, 
and how the little embryo sleeps inside ! Well, 
how well, to sit on one side, taking no part in the 
world's life ; but when great men blossom into 
books looking into those flowers also, to see how 
the world of men too opens beautifully, leaf after 
leaf. Ah 1 life is delicious ; well to live long, and 



39° THE STORY OF 

see the darkness breaking, and the day coming? 
The day when soul shall not thrust back soul that 
would come to it ; when men shall not be driven 
to seek solitude, because of the crying-out of 
their hearts for love and sympathy. Well to live 
long and see the new time breaking. Well to 
live long; life is sweet, sweet, sweet! In his 
breast-pocket, where of old the broken slate used 
to be, there was now a little dancing-shoe of his 
friend who was sleeping. He could feel it when 
he folded his arm tight against his breast; and 
that was well also. He drew his hat lower over 
his eyes, and sat so motionless that the chickens 
thought he was asleep, and gathered closer 
around him. One even ventured to peck at his 
boot; but he ran away quickly. Tiny, yellow 
fellow that he was, he knew that men were dan- 
gerous ; even sleeping they might awake. But 
Waldo did not sleep, and coming back from his 
sunshiny dream, stretched out his hand for the 
tiny thing to mount. But the chicken eyed the 
hand askance, and then ran off to hide under its 
mother's wing, and from beneath it it sometimes 
put out its round head to peep at the great figure 
sitting there. Presently its brothers ran off after 
a little white moth, and it ran out to join them ; 
and when the moth fluttered away over their 
heads they stood looking up disappointed, and 
then ran back to their mother. 

Waldo through his half-closed eyes looked at 
them. Thinking, fearing, craving, those tiny 
sparks of brother life, what were they, so real 
there in that old yard on that sunshiny afternoon / 



A M AFRICAN FARM. 39 1 

A few years — where would they be? Strange 
little brother spirits ! He stretched his hand to- 
ward them, for his heart went out to them ; but 
not one of the little creatures came nearer him, 
and he watched them gravely for a time ; then he 
smiled, and began muttering to himself after his 
old fashion. Afterward he folded his arms upon 
"his knees, and rested his forehead on them. And 
so he sat there in the yellow sunshine, muttering, 
muttering, muttering to himself. 

It was not very long after when Em came out 
at the back-door with a towel thrown across her 
head, and in her hand a cup of milk. 

" Ah," she said, coming close to him, " he is- 
sleeping now. He will find it when he wakes, 
and be glad of it." 

She put it down upon the ground beside him, 
The mother-hen was at work still among the 
stones, but the chickens had climbed about him, 
and were perching on him. One stood upon his 
shoulder, and rubbed its little head softly against 
his black curls*, another tried to balance itself 
on the very edge of the old felt hat. One tiny 
fellow stood upon his hand, and tried to crow ; 
another had nestled itself down comfortably on 
the old coat-sleeve, and gone to sleep there. 

Em did not drive them away ; but she covered 
the glass softly at his side. " He will wake soon," 
she said, " and be glad of it." 

But the chickens were wiser. 



THE END. 



|PPfBWi 



mm